Authors Posts by Francesca Ceciarini

Francesca Ceciarini

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A very disappointed Antonio Conte spoke to the press after the 2-1 defeat against Crystal Palace today, the second in a row after the one against Manchester City two weeks ago:

“Today was a difficult game for us. Our start was poor,” the Chelsea boss said after the game.

“We had to start with more personality.

“Despite this we have to find the will to fight.

“This season we have to put 150 per cent because it will be difficult.

“Balance is very important if you want to win, and today our balance was poor.

“They played with great intensity and will to fight.”

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Antonio Conte spoke ahead of the Crystal Palace away clash and claimed neither Alvaro Morata nor N’Golo Kante will be fit for the game after picking up hamstring injuries, as well as Danny Drinkwater, who has been recovering from a calf injury since the beginning of September:

“I hope to have Morata for the game with Roma next week,” Conte revealed.

“Drinkwater we have to wait, calf problems are not easy. With Kante we are going to do a scan next week to check his situation, his improving, he’s got an hamstring problem.

“It’s a big loss for us, you know very well how he is important for us, we don’t have another player with the same characteristics.

“We are not lucky in this period, we have only Bakyoko and Fabregas available, we have to find different solutions, we have to adapt some defenders as midfielders, or use Scott or Ampadu in the first team.

Kante will be out around 20 days, more or less, for this reason we have to do another scan after one week, to understand the situation very well, to see the improvement, he’s a big loss and it’s a big problem for us.

“For sure we have to approach these seven games without him, we have Fabregas and Bakayoko, then youngsters, we have to find a solution, it will be very difficult to play with Fabregas and Bakayoko for seven games in a row, of course we have to hope to have no more injuries in these games.

“I think an injury can happen during the international break but not only there, for example Morata picked up a injury with Man City, we have to hope they come back in good physical conditions.

“I guess now it’s important to be focused on the present, on the next game, to do our job in the best way to put all our best.”

About his future, Conte said:

“I think that in the last weeks I’ve read wrong things, in the interview I gave I just said that one day, in the future, I would like to go back to Italy.

“I know my position, I have two more years of contract with Chelsea, I like to work here, I like to work with my players, I like the great feeling I got with the fans. My family now stays here and my daughter is going to school here in Cobham, I want to clarify this.

“When a coach starts the work with the club for sure he hopes to stay for a long time and to build something important with the club. Our job is very difficult because everything can change in one day.”

Andrea Pirlo announced he will retire from his footballer career in the end of the year and speculations claimed he could end up working as Conte’s assistant:

“I know that Andrea decided to retire and finish his career in December with NYCFC, I think in this moment he doesn’t know his future and what he wants to do once he’s finished with his career,” the Italian manager stated.

On adapting David Luiz as a midfielder during Kante’s absence he said:

“We are speaking to adapt a player – David Luiz- that is very important as a central defender, because for me David is important as a central defender, if I can I prefer not to change a lot, because if you find a system, you can lose something, to play with three central midfielders could be an option, but I don’t want to change a lot, but if there is the necessity I am ready to do this and I am also ready to give chances to young players, like Ampadu or Scott.

Continuing to speak about next games, Conte said:

“We must be focused to work, we must be focused to do our jobs, the players and I, I think this must be the most important thing for us. Some issues are not important, now it’s important to look at the next game.

Bathsuayi started against Burnley, Qarabag, so he has no problem to start other games.”

Speaking about Kenedy, who last summer ended the Asian tour in advance for some controversial posts on the social media, he said:

“I think his mind must be focused on the pitch, not on social media, I think my task is to help him to find the right way, not the wrong way. I explained it to him, I am sure he understood, I think he has to continue to work like he’s doing, social media are not the most important thing in his career. he’s a very talented player, I see him very well, he’s got a good prospect to become an important player for Chelsea, he has to continue this way, I am sure his chance will come.”

Speaking about academy players to be insert in the first team, Conte said:

“We tried to do this last season, don’t forget that a lot of players from the academy players played in different games, they will play a lot in Carabao Cup, I think they will have the opportunity to play for Chelsea.”

And,finally, about Andreas Christensen and Charlie Musonda’s development:

“I think he can be a good example that, after two years on loan and after a good experience with Borussia Mönchengladbach, he’s becoming an important player with Chelsea. Charlie has to continue this way, we have only three number 10 and usually we play with two, he’s a talented player and I am sure he will have a good career, if his attention is more on the pitch and not on the social media.”

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Chelsea are really concerned for N’Golo Kantè fitness after the French midfielder picked up a hamstring injury while away on international duty with France.

Kante was forced off in the 34th minute of France’s victory over Bulgaria on Saturday night and has now been assessed by Blues’ medical department.

With early predictions putting his absence at two to three weeks, Kante will surely miss next Saturday’s Premier League clash against Crystal Palace.

 The Blues are yet to confirm his exact injury or put an official timescale on how long he will miss.

However, Kante’s injury is thought to be worse than that of team-mate Alvaro Morata, who limped off during Manchester City game a couple of weeks ago but is working to try to come back in the Champions League clash against AS Roma next week.

The fear of Chelsea is that Kante, a key-man for Conte’s team, could miss all the six matches scheduled for October and could come back only in November, on time for Manchester United on the 5th or after another international break due for mid-month.

 

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Chelsea have joined Paris Saint Germain, Inter and Manchester United in the race for Serie A golden boy Pietro Pellegri.

The Genoa forward, only 16, is one of the new Serie A sensations, having scored already 3 goals in only 7 games with the first team ( and not always as a starter).

Genoa outlet Il Secolo XIX, claims the competition has got even stiffer as PSG have entered the race for Pellegri in the last days.

The French champions are reportedly scouting the Italian and they are preparing to swoop, even if Inter was ready to place a bid for him and another Genoa’s young talent, Eddy Salcedo ( who turned 16 last week).

Genoa, however, are hoping that Pellegri will opt to stay for at least two more years at the Rossoblu.

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AC Milan are keen to bring Antonio Conte back to a Serie A top side next season.

The Rossoneri who sit 7th in the table with only 12 points ( 9 behind Napoli, who are the leaders) failed to deliver results in this start of the season, with 3 defeats in 7 games, despite investing almost £ 200m in the last summer transfer window.

Manager Vincenzo Montella is on the brink and Sunday night he will have to confirm his job trying to win the derby against Inter, who sit second in the table only 2 points behind Napoli, along with Juventus.

Milan’s plan is ,according to Corriere dello Sport, to have the U21 manager, Gennaro Gattuso, to take over as head coach of Milan if Montella lose the derby. Gattuso would then stay on a temporary basis until next summer, when management intend to bring in Antonio Conte.

Antonio Conte has previously this month publicly stated his desire to return home to Italy, and from what it seems, have attracted a lot of interest from the Rossoneri.

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Chelsea star Eden Hazard revealed that to be among Ballon d’Or nominees was not a career goal.

The Belgian forward was in the final shortlist for the prestigious award already in 2013, 2014 and 2015:

“It is not a goal at all. Last year I tried to make the best season possible.

“It was an excellent year,” Hazard said about the campaign that led Chelsea and him to win the second Premier League title in three years.

Speaking about his nomination for the Ballon d’Or, Blues boss Antonio Conte claimed:

“We all know he is talented, we know his strength and he is a really, really good talented player.

“He is a good man, a good boy.”

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Chelsea are in concern for the fitness of two of their most important players ahead of Crystal Palace clash this weekend.

Blues stars Alvaro Morata and N’Golo Kante both suffered a hamstring injury in the last days and still is not sure if they will be able to recover before the Eagles derby.

Morata posted some photos and videos on social media showing he was in high spirit and determined to recover on time for Premier League restart, but he still remains a doubt.

Kante’s conditions have to be still evaluated by Chelsea medical staff, so the extension of his injury is not known yet.

The absence of these two key players would be a major blow for Antonio Conte and the Blues, who are chasing Manchsester United and Manchester City in Premier League title race, with the two teams topping the table with a six points advantage.

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Former Chelsea coach and player Ray Wilkins admitted that seeing Nemanja Matic moving from Stamford Bridge to Old Trafford annoyed him last summer:
“I’m annoyed he’s [Nemanja Matic] been allowed to leave Stamford Bridge,” Wilkins told Sky Sports about the Serbian signing for Manchester United.

Wilkins is also concerned about N’Golo Kante’s fitness, since the French midfielder – that made the 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d’Or– picked up an injury while on duty with France in this international break:

Kante has injured himself the other night with his thigh, we don’t know if he will be playing at the weekend.¨

The Serbian midfielder, however, has been one of José Mourinho‘s best performers in this start of the season, with United topping the table with only two points lost at Stoke City‘s stadium back in September:

“Matic for me is the best holding midfield player, one of the best in the world anyway. I’m very sad that he’s left.”

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Italy's head coach Antonio Conte with midfielder Andrea Pirlo during the training section at Renzo Barbera stadium in Palermo, Sicily island, Italy, 09 October 2014. Italy and Azerbaijan will play the Uefa Euro 2016 qualifying soccer match in Palermo on 10 October 2014. A

After announcing his retirement from played football Andrea Pirlo is considering some options about his future.

Speaking to Italian outlet La Gazzetta dello Sport, the current New York City FC star didn’t rule out the idea to become Antonio Conte‘s assistant:

“My future, I don’t know yet. I will return to Italy in December,” the Italian football legend claimed.

“An assistant to Conte? People are saying that. I have my ideas but I need time to decide.”

Conte and Pirlo already worked together at Juventus and in the Italian national team.

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Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kantè was included in the 30-man Ballon d’Or shortlist.

The French star, who was voted as best PFA Premier League player last season, is in good company along with some world football top players.

The Blues midfielder is among the first names to appear on the list, along with Real Madrid stars Marcelo and Luka Modric, former Barcelona striker and now PSG star Neymar and Juventus forward Paulo Dybala.

The remaining 25 names on the shortlist will be announced at intervals throughout Monday with the final five released at 6.15pm.

Cristiano Ronaldo, anyway, remains the favourite to win the prestigious prize.

 

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