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Antonio Conte recently admitted that winning the Premier League title on his first season with Chelsea would be probably the greatest achievement of his career as a football manager.

When asked about where winning the league would be ranked in his career, the manager said: “For this achievement I had a problem in Italy. For me this is the first season in England and to arrive here, in a different country, with a different language and to bring my philosophy and idea of football, it’s not easy in the first season”.

Then Conte added: “We are fighting for the title and the FA Cup and this is a great achievement but I hope, always, to stay in the future. I want to try to win with my players, with the club, with the fans: together.”

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Who would Chelsea manager Antonio Conte rather have in his team: Diego Costa or Everton star Romelu Lukaku?

“As I said before, for me my players are the best in the world. I don’t change my players with other players.” Conte said.

The Belgium international has been heavily linked with a comeback to Stamford Bridge at the end of current season, with Diego Costa reportedly heading to Chinese Super League on a mammoth move.

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Chelsea have ended 11 games without a clean sheet and manager Antonio Conte expressed his disappointment speaking at press conference ahead of Everton clash.

“I don’t like, but it’s important to know that I don’t like it. – Conte said – Sometimes the stats are not true, above all for possession: you can have good possession and lose the game, but about the clean sheets, I think it’s an important stat”.

“It’s 11 games tha we are not able to keep a clean sheet and, for this reason, it’s important to improve, to work on the situations we’re conceding the goals”.

At the same time, the Italian manager confirmed he’s not concerned about this situation: “No, I’m not concerned about this – Conte said – But we are working to improve”.

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When asked about Tottenham’s campaign so far, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said: “After a lot of work we are fighting for the FA Cup and Premier League, but we must praise Tottenham as they are playing a great season like Chelsea”

“We’ll try to reach this target with all our strength trying to enjoy this moment. I hope to stay here in the future and I want to win with my players, with the club and the fans: all together”.

About Romelu Lukaku, who has been linked with a move to Chelsea next summer: “I think Lukaku is a really good player who’s scoring a lot of goals this season, but not only this season, and we must pay attention”.

“But is always the same work, we try every time to find the best solution to stop the opponents, about single players and about the team” Conte added.

About Everton squad he ended: “They have a lot of good players, good technique, good finishing”.

 

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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte spoke ahead of the Blues’ trip to Goodison Park, where they’ll face Everton.

“Everton are a strong team with great players in their squad, good quality with a good manager. A physical team, also. This game could be tough for many different reasons” he said.

“It will be a very tough game for us, for sure, but at the end of the season, every game becomes tough for many different reasons”.

Everton won 8th games in a row at Goodison Park and are still unbeaten in eight games at home.

“We all know Everton are a strong team, when they play at home they’re stronger. It’s very important to look at ourselves, prepare very well and arrive to play this game with great physical condition, good organisation, to know our tasks defensively and offensively.”

Champions League qualification is getting closer for Chelsea, as the Blues would confirm their participation to the competition with a draw or win: “I think we are very close to reach a very important target for the fans and players [the Champions League] – Conte said – When we started this season, our first target was to play in the Champions League next season but, for sure now, we stay in a position to try also to win the league”.

“In this league when your team is able to reach this target is a good achievement, don’t forget that only 4 teams can play the Champions League every year. Obviously, with six teams between Chelsea, Tottenham, City, Arsenal, United, Liverpool, two strong teams won’t play next season in the Champions League.”

Then Conte gave an injury update ahead of Everton clash: “All my players are available, they’re in good fitness” he said.

 

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Victor Moses is shining this season with Chelsea with the Nigerian international playing regularly at wing-back since Chelsea’s switch to a 3-4-3 formation in October.

Moses himself thanks and praises manager Antonio Conte for his performances: “I’ve never doubted the ability that I’ve got,” he told Sky Sports. “Chelsea is one of the best clubs in the world and I’ve always believed I have the ability to get into the team. I’ve proved that this season. I just kept working hard and kept believing in myself. I’ve moved on from the difficult times now. This is a season I am never going to forget. We’ve got a manager now who gives everyone the opportunity to express themselves. I felt that from the start, right from the first day of training. He was talking to all the players. There was no favouritism. Everyone was the same to him. As long as you went out and proved yourself, he would give you the opportunity. I was very pleased to see that. It gave me confidence.”

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It will be an important weekend for the Premier League title race: Chelsea will play Everton at Goodison Park, while Tottenham will face Arsenal in the North London derby.

Antonio Conte‘s side don’t have to make a mistake and underestimate their opponents, but, according to Nigel Winterburn the pressure will be all on the Spurs.

“You look at Chelsea it’s this weekend against Everton away and West Brom away where they can drop points – Winterburn told Sky Sports Look at their home games, I can’t see them dropping points. The pressure is on Tottenham. Everyone is expecting them to win and Arsenal will look to spoil that.”

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Chelsea players celebrating Diego Costa's goal against Everton back in November © Francesca Ceciarini

Writing for BetVictor former Ballon d’Or winner Michael Owen picked his two key players for Everton v Chelsea:

“This should be a cracking game with Everton looking to exorcise their 5-0 loss to the Champions-elect at the Bridge earlier in the season,” the ex Liverpool, Real Madrid and Man United forward wrote.

“Only Liverpool have won at Goodison in the PL so far this season and it is their home form, eight successive wins, which has seen Everton challenge for a top-six spot.

Diego Costa has a good record against Everton and he was back to his best against Southampton midweek.

“Reports suggest Romelu Lukaku is earmarked as a replacement for Costa should he leave the Bridge for China in the summer and the outcome of the game could revolve around the two inform strikers.”

A footnotte added: “Michael’s recommendation: Diego Costa to score at anytime at Evens.”

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Eden Hazard against Everton last season © Francesca Ceciarini

Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson reckons Chelsea can obtain a win at Goodison Park this Sunday in a clash against Everton that that to many people seem the last tough obstacle between the Blues and the Premier League title:

Everton are a weird team,” the ex Arsenal player wrote his column for the TV network.

“They get to a certain stage, you think they’re set to kick on for a top four or top-five place, and they just melt away.

“A few weeks ago they were flying, went to Middlesbrough and drew 0-0. Then they were flying again and got well beaten by Tottenham. And then they were flying again, go to West Ham and draw 0-0.

“They have not taken that next step and I worry for them. It will be a competitive game but Chelsea should have too much.”

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Everton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin warns Chelsea ahead of this Sunday’s clash at Goodison Park.

The game away with the Toffees seems the last really tough match the Blues will have to face in this title race with Spurs, but the ex Southampton and Manchester United player sends Conte’s players a message.

Everton lost 5-0 at Stamford Bridge back in November, in which was probably the best Chelsea display during this season, even if the French midfielder was still a Red Devils player at that time:

“It will be in the back of people’s minds that they want to have revenge for that loss.

“But the only thing we can focus on now is our performance on Sunday.

“We need to make sure that we don’t let them breathe and exploit the qualities that they have because they have so much quality all over the park.

“It is up to us to be hard to beat and to be on them every minute and not them have any space.”

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