Despite winning the title last term, it seems clear Conte will be leaving at the end of the season, a notion he barely challenged when asked if this was his Premier League swansong.
Their defensive organisation was embarrassing at times in a performance that did not bode well for the Blues' chances of lifting the FA Cup in next Saturday's final against Manchester United at Wembley.
The abiding sense is that Chelsea, with or (more likely) without Conte, are embarking on their most significant summer since the construction of this current team began in earnest in 2012, and the absence of Champions League football next season crystallises what is at stake.
Ayoze Perez struck twice to end Chelsea's faint hopes of Champions League qualification as Newcastle secured a top-10 finish on its return to the Premier League on Sunday. Instead, it was Liverpool who hammered Brighton 4-0 at Anfield booked their place in next season's Champions League.
"I think I'm living with this speculation since the start of this season", he said.
After the win against his former club, Benitez insisted that he wanted to carry on with the Magpies to build on their decent season.More news: 'Deadpool 2' a dark, gruesome delight, from start to very amusing finish
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"The players love him, a manager of that level who's been at big clubs and won trophies, you've got to do all you can to hold onto him".
Lascelles, appointed as captain by Benitez two years ago, says he would "do anything" to keep the 58-year-old on Tyneside if it was up to him. No, I don't think it will be.
"If we want to achieve something, then we have to understand what we need to achieve that".
This could also have been a final game in charge for Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez, with the Spaniard's future in doubt pending key talks with the club's owner Mike Ashley in the next week.
After seeing his team end a four-game losing streak, he said: 'Tenth position, great game, three good goals - a almost flawless Sunday'.
'Next we will see.