The Blues won the Premier League title with two games to spare last season after Chelsea FC finished ahead of Tottenham Hotspur.
The west London side have struggled to retain their title despite adding more players to their squad in the summer.
Chelsea FC’s decision to sell Nemanja Matic and Diego Costa proved a mistake after the Blues failed to fill the void left by the influential pair.
Conte’s side are in sixth place in the Premier League table and five points behind Tottenham Hotspur, who are in the final Champions Leaguw qualification spot.
The Blues lost 4-1 to La Liga outfit FC Barcelona in the Champions League round of 16 before a 2-1 defeat by Arsenal in the League Cup semi-finals.
Former Arsenal star Merson believes the Blues will struggle to overhaul Manchester City in the 2018-19 Premier League campaign.
“After winning the Premier League, the minimum was getting the top four after the amount of money they’ve spent,” Merson told Sky Sports.
“You’d expect to be in the top four and build again for next season. Chelsea will need players. Whoever the manager is. This squad won’t be near Man City next season.”
Chelsea FC can still finish the season with some silverware if the Blues manage to win the FA Cup.
The west London side will take on Southampton in the FA Cup semi-final for a place in the showpiece.
The Blues lost 2-1 to Arsenal in the FA Cup final last term.
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