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CFC

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Team News

Chelsea

– Conte claimed he has full squad available with no fresh injuries

– John Terry can start tonight, as well as Asmir Begovic and Kurt Zouma

–  Pedro has scored in each round of this season’s FA Cup, scoring a total of four goals (also registering two assists).

– The Blues have won 15 of their 16 home games under Antonio Conte in all competitions, including the last 12: the only defeat was Liverpool back in September

– Chelsea have reached the FA Cup quarter-finals 12 times in the 21st century – more than any other side.

 

Manchester  United

– Red Devils travelled to London without all their main strikers yesterday: Zlatan Ibrahimovic is suspended for three games after elbowing Bournemouth’s Tyrone Mings in Premier League. Wayne Rooney, who was supposed to start after not travelling to Russia for Europa League match against Rostov last week, got injured in the last training before travelling to the English capital in an accidental clash with Phil Jones. Anthony Martial was reported injured, while Marcus Rashford is ill.

– José Mourinho could move a winger or another midfielder to the centre of United attacks, like Young, Fellaini, Mata, Lingard or Mkhitaryan but to face such an important game without all the four main strikers is surely a major blow for Mourinho’s side who are looking for “revenge” after last October 4-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge.

– Bailly is back to Manchester United squad after missing Europa League clash against Rostov for suspension

– The last time United lost an FA Cup tie away from Old Trafford was their 1-0 defeat by Chelsea in 2013.

– Jose Mourinho has never lost an FA Cup quarter-final.

– This will be United’s 46th competitive game of the season, but only Chelsea’s 34th.

 

Predicted Line Ups

CHELSEA - Courtois, David Luiz, Cahill, Azipilicueta, Moses, Matic, Kante, Marcos Alonso, Eden Hazard, Pedro, Diego Costa.

MANCHESTER UNITED - De Gea,  Bailly, Rojo, Jones, Valencia, Herrera, Carrick, Pogba, Shaw, Mkhytarian, Mata.

 

 

 

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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte insists he will select the best squad to face Manchester United tonight, when the Blues will try to go through the semi-finals.

“The FA Cup is a great competition and for this reason I want to try to make the best decision for the game against United, - Conte said – We didn’t play in the week, our last game was Monday, and then we play again on Saturday. I don’t see the necessity to rest players and also, because United will do the same against us”.

“This game is important for us and for them. I think their formation will be very good because I think that United, along with City, have the best squad in this league – with the number of players in the squad and the quality also”.

“Also because they have had four days to recover [from their Europa League trip to Rostov]. We could have played this game on Sunday or Saturday, but we are playing on Monday and I think the FA have shown great respect for Manchester United to play the last day we are able to play this game”.

Then, when asked about Chelsea’s ambitions for the current season, Conte added: “For me, it is not important to think about winning the Double,’ he said. ‘It is important for me and the players to play game by game, to see what we reach at the end of the season”.

“Now, this game is the most important game, because you either go through or you stop your run in the FA Cup. For this reason, it is the most important game for us in this moment”. 

“Then, after tonight, our most important game will be against Stoke - the Italian manager ended - We have to build our way to try to arrive at the end of the season to celebrate something. But the way is very long”.

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Antonio Conte spoke ahead of his side’s home clash against Manchester United in the FA Cup Quarter-Finals.

The Chelsea manager showed his full respect towards former Blues’ boss José Mourinho, as the Italian manager knows all about the Portuguese’s history at Stamford Bridge.

“For sure, he is one of the best in the world, – Conte told the club’s official website – I think that Jose Mourinho wrote a good part of the history of Chelsea. He won a lot with the players and he did a great job here. It is important not to forget this and I have great respect for him because he is a winner and I like his winning mentality”.

“His history with Chelsea is great and I know very well he is in the hearts of the Chelsea fans and this is great because he deserves this. For sure, I hope in the future to try to emulate his wins here”.

About the importance of counter-attack in football: “Not only here, but I never, never, never train and prepare for the counter-attack. I think the counter-attack is an option, only if you have these types of players – players who are very, very fast. When there is this situation to have space, it is normal and the players know very well what they have to do”.

“For me it is important to try to train the other aspects. When we have the ball, when we stay almost always in the opposition half, to find a solution, to prepare when we are attacking – I train this. I think the counter-attack is very difficult to train”.

“We all know that during the game there are different situations and you must be prepared for different games, and also to play in different parts of the pitch. If you have a game where you stay for 70 minutes in the opponents’ half, you must know what you have to do, otherwise you are in trouble”.

Then Conte added: “Sometimes you find teams that force you to defend in your own half of the pitch, and you must know how to behave in this moment. It’s important to make sure the players are prepared to face this situation”.

 

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Manchester United midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan told the club’s official website that his side will try to beat Chelsea as the Red Devils want to stay in both F.A. Cup and Europa League after winning the EFL Cup last week.

The Armenia international said: “We have to play with everyone. It doesn’t matter whether we’re playing away or at home, we just have to do our best and to keep playing very well. That’s the most important thing”.

“There is no sense to think about avoiding Chelsea or someone else [in cup draws] because you’re probably going to meet them in the final”.

“I think it’s better to play them now, to see if you can win or not and then you move forward” Mkhitaryan added.

The Manchester United star confirmed that José Mourinho‘s main goal is to stay in three different competitions after lifting the EFL Cup at Wembley against Southampton.

“It’s going to be very important to stay in three different competitions [Premier League, Europa League, FA Cup]. We’re going to try to do that. It’s not going to be easy because as you go further it gets difficult but we have to try”.

“We’re having a good time now, we’re having good games, we have a good squad and we can reach the maximum that we want.”

Then Mkhitaryan ended: “We just have to get ready for that game. It’s not going to be easy as everyone knows but we know how we’re going to play and we’re hoping for a good game and a good result for us”.

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Former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho claimed he was “surprised” by current Chelsea playing style, claiming Antonio Conte’s side are often playing with a strong defence and counter-attacks, a thing for what the Portuguese was often criticised during his Blues days.

The Italian manager, anyway, rejects this kind of criticisism by the ex Chelsea coach:

“I have to tell you one thing, not only here,” Conte said ahead of the FA Cup clash with Manchester United.

“I never, ever, ever train for the counter-attack; never prepare for the counter-attack. Never. I think the counter-attack is an option, above all if you have this type of player, players who are very, very fast.

“Also [Diego] Costa is a counter-attacking man, and Willian and Pedro. It’s normal to have this situation with space, so they know what they can do. For me, it’s important to train the other aspects: when we have the ball, when we stay almost always in our opponents’ half, to prepare when we are attacking. It’s very difficult to train counter-attacking, but it’s not my priority.”

Conte then added:

“There are different situations in games. You have to be prepared to play in different parts of the pitch. If you stay for 70 minutes in your opponents’ half, you must know what to do otherwise you are in trouble. Sometimes you find teams who force you to defend in your own half, and you have to know how to react in this moment. You train for situations and it’s important to have players who are prepared for this situation.”

 

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Jose Mourinho will have an headache in his London hotel room tonight trying to figure out how to face Chelsea in crucial FA Cup quarter finals with no strikers available.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is serving a three-game-ban after the episodes occured with Bournemouth’s Tyrone Mings in the past weekend but pictures of Manchester United travelling squad while boarding the train to London this afternoon showed all the three other strikers were missing: Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford all stayed in Manchester to recover from injury.

The Red Devils captain got injured in the last training session in a collision with Phil Jones, Rashford was taken ill and Martial is injured as well.

Mourinho could move a winger or another midfielder to the centre of United attacks, like Young, Fellaini, Mata, Lingard or Mkhitaryan but to face such an important game without all the four main strikers is surely a major blow for Mourinho’s side who are looking for “revenge” after last October 4-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge.

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Chelsea star Eden Hazard gave his thoughts ahead of Monday night’s quarter-final clash with Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United.

The Belgium international told Chelsea TV: “The FA Cup for all the fans does mean something special. They won a lot in the past 10 years. Since I signed for Chelsea I never won this cup”.

“The FA Cup is something we want to win, but when you play for Chelsea it is not something you think about a lot because you want to win every game. – Hazard added - My target is to give everything and only if we win the trophies will I be relaxed.”

Chelsea are still 10 points clear at top of Premier League table and Hazard himself confirmed that ‘it is a key moment in the season’.

“If we want to be champions we have to give everything, – Hazard added – All the games from now until the end of the season will be difficult because everyone wants to beat the team that is at the top of the league, so we have to be ready for that. All the opponents will give everything and we have to do our best.”

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Manchester United defender Chris Smalling is confident that his side can bounce back from their disappointing defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge earlier in October.

“That game at Chelsea completely knocked us – it was definitely one of our worst performances of the season, - The England international told United’s official website – But from then on we have kicked on and done a lot better”.

“I think we all learned a lot of things from that game and, not only do we have progress in this competition to play for, we also have our pride as well”.

Then Smalling added: “The FA Cup is a tough trophy to defend and looking at previous records, not many people have been able to do it and I know United haven’t.

“We are on a good run and we will give a much better account of ourselves than we did last time,” added the centre back”.

 

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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte praised midfielder N’Golo Kante ahead of next F.A. Cup clash against Manchester United.

The Frenchman will face a compatriot on the pitch tomorrow night, Paul Pogba, which Conte manager for two campaigns at Juventus.

Conte told the club’s official website: “My job is to try and improve my players and I want to improve my players through working very hard. We are talking about a great player – he played very well in the past, last season with Leicester, and he is playing very well also this season with us”.

‘We are working in some aspects to try and improve him, to make him a more complete player, but we are talking about a great player. N’Golo is also a fantastic person, with great commitment and he is a great example”.

‘He’s a really good guy – he always has a smile on his face and this is fantastic. During training sessions, he works a lot, but with a smile. To see this is great for the other players, for the staff, for me and all the people who work at Chelsea. He’s a great player and, I repeat, he always puts 100 per cent in the game but also in the training”.

‘In my career I like a lot this type of player, also because I was this type of player! I always appreciate this player, with great generosity, with great ability to work for the team. I think it’s important to have this type of player if you want to win. Not only great talent, but also players that run a lot during the game.’

Then, when asked whether he sees something of himself in Kante, he added: “He’s stronger than me! I think I was perhaps stronger than him to score the goal, but in the other aspects, there isn’t a competition with him – he is stronger than me”.

When asked about the importance of Red Devils’ star Pogba: “I don’t like to talk about the players of the other teams, but in this case, with Paul, I have had the opportunity in the past to train him and, yeah, we are talking about a top player in all the situations.’

“Also, in his commitment during training sessions to try to improve himself, with great technique, physically strong and great stamina – I can tell you that Paul Pogba is a top player”.

“We are working to try to find the right solution for the whole team, not only for Pogba or for one individual player. We are studying Manchester United to try to find the right solution. Paul is a really good player, we must pay great attention to him, but it’s right to think about the whole Manchester United team because this team is very strong”.

Trying to compare Kante and Pogba, Conte ended: “They are two different players with different characteristics. It’s very difficult to try to compare Paul and N’Golo – two top players but with different characteristics”.

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Antonio Conte can leave Chelsea at the end of this season to join Inter, it’s not just a rumour.

According to our sources, the Italian side made him a huge offer through a man working for powerful football agent Jorge Mendes.

Conte is considering the offer for two main reasons:

– His family don’t like London and are not really keen to move in the English capital. Right now both his wife and daughter still lives in Turin and Conte claimed more than once that this situation is not good for him and his beloved ones.

– The Italian coach would like to have more power on Chelsea transfer market decisions but, until now, the club don’t want to increase his authority at Stamford Bridge. Conte doesn’t like the fact the club doesn’t want to give him more trust after the fantastic job he made in the last months.

The ex Juventus manager left the Bianconeri in the middle of pre-season 2014/2015 for similar reasons: issues aroused between him and the board for some transfer market operations.

One fundamental condition for Conte to accept Inter’s offer is that Nerazzurri will qualify for next Champions League edition: right now the Nerazzurri sit 6th in the table, 6 points behind the thir place, that is the last one available to qualify for the most important European competition in Italy.

The fact the Italian boss was not clear on his future during yesterday’s press conference ( http://www.chelseanews24.com/top-stories/conte-still-not-clear-about-his-future-i-will-speak-with-the-club/) confirms that something is going on and the situation will be valued at the end of the season.

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