Authors Posts by Lorenzo Semino

Lorenzo Semino

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Antonio Conte has confirmed he trusts Chelsea midfielder Danny Drinkwater, who struggled to find regular game time following a couple of injuries to keep him out of the squad since he joined the Blues in January transfer window.

The England international is currently coping with a calf problem and will be not available for today’s trip to Southampton, as the Italian boss confirmed: “Danny is having an unlucky season,” Conte assessed, speaking at a press conference yesterday.

“He started this season with a problem in his calf, then he continued to have problems. Now he is struggling with a problem in the groin. We are talking about a good midfielder, a good player. I trust him”.

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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has confirmed he will ‘make rotations and give everyone the possibility to play’ also in defense against Southampton tomorrow afternoon (Kick-Off 12.30PM BST).

The Italian coach said: “We are talking about a young player. For him it is the first season playing at this level. Playing at this level means you lose a lot of mental energy. It could be that he is a bit tired in this respect”.

“At the same time, to have the possibility to play Gary Cahill is right. We are talking about an important player not only for Chelsea, but also for the national team. I have this opportunity to make rotations, especially in the defensive line. When I see some situations, I try to change something”.

“For sure [Andreas] Christensen can contribute in the last few weeks of the season. I have four central defenders at the moment. From now until the end I will make rotations and give everyone the possibility to play”.

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Andreas Christensen struggled with good performances in recent times following a positive start to the season with Chelsea, under Antonio Conte’s management.

The Denmark international, speaking to Chelsea’s official website, also praised the Italian boss, who’ been svital in helping him through this difficult time: “It helps when you’ve got good team-mates who take care of you and a manager who believes in you” Christensen said.

“That’s only made things more comfortable for me, and now I want to progress even more.”

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Andreas Christensen admitted he is ‘happy with the overall season’ at Chelsea despite his defensive mistake in Champions League clash against Barcelona.

“It’s easy to just look at the recent games – Christensen told Chelsea’s official website – But I try to remember I played probably 25-30 games with no mistakes at all before that. Everyone knows you can’t go through a whole season not making a mistake, as a defender – it’s impossible”. 

“That’s the bad part about our job – when there’s a goal, there’s a good chance you’re the one getting pointed at, but you still have to take responsibility next time you get the ball and do what’s best for the team”.

The Denmark international also praised manager Antonio Conte, who’s been vital in helping him through this difficult time: “It helps when you’ve got good team-mates who take care of you and a manager who believes in you. That’s only made things more comfortable for me, and now I want to progress even more.”

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Antonio Rudiger was clear and determined when asked to provide a comment on the latest Premier League clash against West Ham United at Stamford Bridge. The German international told Chelsea’s official website: “I think we begged for the goal, and in the second half, or even in the first half, we could have finished the game, but like the last few months we couldn’t, and we conceded at the end. It’s not easy to explain. I don’t understand after we go 1-0 up why we always drop off and let our opponents come and get stronger and have more ball possession”.

“We could have done better, of course. Like in the last few weeks we gave them a gift. It was the first clear chance they had and they scored. It’s been a long time since we kept a clean sheet. It’s our own fault. There’s nobody to blame but ourselves”.

Chelsea face Southampton on Sunday and then in the FA Cup semi-final later this month, on 22th of April. Rudiger underlined the importance of winning all the remaining games, because “if Chelsea don’t win games they cannot get in the top four”: “The thing is we have to start playing good football and winning games – Rudiger said – We have to try and turn this around and finish the season on a high. There’s no other way. We have to go to Southampton and do our thing, analyse this West Ham game very well, and keep going”.

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CHELSEA – Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill (c), Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso; Willian, Morata, Hazard.

Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Emerson, Bakayoko, Drinkwater, Pedro, Giroud.

Manager: Antonio Conte

WEST HAM UNITED – Hart, Zabaleta, Rice, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Masuaku, Kouyate, Noble, Fernandes, Joao Mario, Arnautovic

Subs: Adrian, Pask, Evra, Cullen, Diangana, Hugill, Chicharito

Manager: David Moyes

Venue: Stamford Bridge

Kick-Off: 4.30PM BST

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West Ham defender Angelo Ogbonna recalled the past when asked if he kept in touch with former Juventus manager Antonio Conte, who is currently in charge at Stamford Bridge and will face the Hammers today (4.30PM BST).

The 29-year-old told London Evening Standard: “I am still close to him, he was a manager who has been very important for my career. He took me to Juventus and then picked me for Italy for the European games.

 “I think Chelsea still are a really good team and you have to have a really big squad to compete in this league, but to be fair it is not my problem right now. The problem now is for us to get something from the game.” 
West Ham have beaten Chelsea in December thanks to Marko Arnautovic‘s early strike at the Olympic Stadium.

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Cesar Azpilicueta was among the players who spoke ahead of today’s clash between Chelsea and West Ham United at Stamford Bridge (5.30PM BST). The Spaniard told Chelsea’s official website: “I would like to personally pay tribute to Ray and for what he did for football, especially at our club, and my condolences go out to his family”

“I think the way he supported and loved the club was fantastic and, as well as a minute’s applause, I think winning the game would be the best way to say thanks to him and his family for everything he has done for Chelsea”.

“We all know how important he was for this club and especially for a lot of our players, as he played a big role for them. We have young players here that have come through the academy that knew him very well and even though I didn’t get to meet him personally, I am fully aware of what he did for this football club. Everybody has spoken only good words about him and people hold him very highly in their thoughts”.

Chelsea face today West Ham, in a crucial clash for the Blues’. Only a victory would keep hopes alive in the race for a spot in the next UEFA Champions League group stages, as Azpilicueta assessed: “It’s a massive game for us, it’s another London derby and we want to get back to winning ways. Last weekend was a tough afternoon for us and since the game finished, we have been itching to get to the next game”.

‘We’ve had to wait for Sunday for a little while, but hopefully we can get off to a good start and get the three points. We know West Ham are a strong side with good players. They are fighting against relegation but they are still a good team. We have to focus on ourselves and bounce back from the defeat [against Tottenham] and get back to winning ways as soon as possible. Tomorrow would be the perfect time to do just that.

He added: “We need everyone, we have tough games ahead and there is only six or seven weeks until the end of the season. Everyone is pushing to get into the team and get the results we want. There is still hope to get into the top four and there are many points still to take. It’s a lot harder now, that’s just the reality of things, but we will always fight until the end.

‘We want to have a perfect end by winning every game for the rest of the season, as that is our target. Then it’s down to the rest of the teams to stay ahead of us. Everyone has been frustrated with the amount of games we have lost this season and that is why we haven’t been able to retain our Premier League title. But we are continuing to fight until the end of the season and to give our all to try and finish in the top four”.

Azpilicueta ended: “West Ham will come here and make things difficult for us but we are at home and we want to get the victory for our supporters”.

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Chelsea won 9 of the last 12 home games against West Ham United, who defeated the current Premier League champions at Olympic Stadium in December with Marko Arnautovic‘s opener in the 6th minute.

 

About latest rivals Tottenham Hotspurs, Conte told journalists: “For sure we have to be realistic and Sunday was a bad defeat for us. We had the opportunity to reduce the gap on Tottenham but at the same time, we have to try and continue to have the possibility to fight for a place in the Champions League”.

“It won’t be easy and we must be realistic, but at the same time we have to give 100 per cent and show pride, desire and will to fight until the end of the season. This must be our target for the rest of the season now”.

And about next opponent West Ham United: “West Ham have been playing some good football recently and have had some good results. They are trying to get away from the relegation zone and will want to win, but we also want the three points”.

“It’s a London derby and it’s a big game. We want to have the opportunity to fight for a place in the Champions League, by finishing in the top four. I think everyone has to show pride, desire and a will to fight until the end of the season. This is very important for me, my staff and for my players to show this. Also, our supporters deserve at least this.”

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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has confirmed both goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and Spaniard Pedro could be included in the provisional squad for Sunday’s London clash against West Ham United at Stamford Bridge.

The Italian manager said, speaking at a press conference ahead of the game: “At the moment we have two players out, Luiz and Ampadu. Pedro and Courtois could be back in contention though. We have two days to check the physical condition of the players, so we will see then. But we have David Luiz and Ampadu out, certainly, but Pedro and Courtois we will look at”.

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