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CFC

West Ham United earned a 1-0 win against Tottenham Hotspur tonight which means that Chelsea are getting ever closer to lifting the Premier League title as will be champions if they win their next two matches.

Manuel Lanzini gave the lead after scoring in the second half from close range.

The Blues, who will face Middlesbrough at Stamford Bridge on Monday night, can restore their seven-point lead at the top of table with a home victory against Boro.

 

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Manchester City have been fined £300,000 and banned from signing certain Academy players for two years.

An official statement from Premier League read: “Following an investigation, the Premier League found evidence that [Manchester City’s] conduct prior to applying to register the players had contravened league rules.

“This included evidence of contact between the club and members of each academy player’s family while those academy players were still registered with their previous clubs.”

The statement added: “In each case, the academy player was conditionally registered with Manchester City while the Premier League’s investigation was ongoing.

“As a result of the club’s breaches, the players’ registrations will be terminated on a specified date, with no compensation rights retained by the club, and the club will not be permitted to re-register them as academy players.

“In addition, Manchester City has offered to pay compensation to each player’s previous club, and maintain educational provision for each player until the completion of his GCSEs.”

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Season ticket holders can purchase their ticket for the Fa Cup final from Monday to Wednesday, depending on their loyalty points.

Season ticket holders with 72 points or more can purchase one ticket on Monday from 7am until 1,30pm.

Season ticket holders with 67 points or more can buy one ticket on Monday from 2pm but they can do this only online.

Season ticket holders with 62 points or more can buy their ticket on Tuesday from 7am until 1,30, while, from 2pm it will be the turn of supporters with at least 57 points.

Wednesday morning season ticket holders with 52 points or more can purchase their ticket from 7am to 1,30pm, while in the afternoon, from 2pm the chance will open for all remaining season ticket holders.

If tickets remain available after these 3 days Chelsea will make a further announcement on Monday 15 May.

 

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In the past days speculations of a summer move to Inter for Antonio Conte raised again in Italy, with the Blues boss that was said to be “really close” to join the Nerazzurri after this season at Chelsea.

ChelseaNews24 asked him today if all these rumours on his future are destabilising for him and this is what the Italian manager said:

“It’s the same. It’s the same speech for my players. The same for me. We must stay with great concentration until the end. I repeat: there is this great target, close, and for this reason I think we must think in the present. In the present. At this part of the season there are a lot of speculations about my players, also about me, but it’s not important. Not important, this. The most important thing now is to try and reach our target.”

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Blues boss Antonio Conte doesn’t want distractions in this delicate moment of the season, where Chelsea have to face the last four games of the league and the FA Cup final against Arsenal.

Yesterday a lot of speculations were going on on Diego Costa’s future, after Mirror Sports and Spanish radio Cadena Ser announced he had set personal terms with Tianjin Quanjian, a news that the Chinese side itself dismissed later.

When Conte was asked about Diego Costa’s future in the press conference to preview the game against Middlesbrough, he said:

“I don’t know about this, now it’s very important for every single person to be focused on Chelsea, the present is more important, we have 5 games until the end and we have to prepare for those.

“We haven’t discussed his future, because it’s not the most important thing now.

“I repeat the same concept about him and about every single player for the future.

“This part of the season it’s normal to cope with these speculations. Sometimes you can find the truth, other times it’s not.

And when asked if these rumours can distract his players, he said:

“I am not worried about this, I see my players every day and I can see the right concentration, the right focus, you have the chance to reach a fantastic target for us, to win the PL and play the FA Cup final, two big targets for us, they are very important. Speculations or news are not important.”

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Antonio Conte gave a couple of injury updates ahead of Middlesbrough clash claiming that, anyway, he’s got a couple of days to recover these players and check their situations, since Boro are visiting Stamford Bridge on Monday night:

“Courtois trained today and I don’t see any problem about him. We are trying to see the situation, also about David Luiz and Kante, I have time to make the right decision. I have to check the situation to take the best decision.

“Kante has got a muscular injury, in his thigh.”

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Chelsea boss Antonio Conte confirmed his players and him are focused just on the present, to fight for the title and the FA Cup.

Monday night clash against Middlesbrough will be especially tough because Boro are fighting to survive.

Speaking about injuries he revealed that he’s got a couple of concerns with important players when asked if Courtois was ok for the next game:

“Courtois trained today and I don’t see any problem about him. We are trying to see the situation, also about David Luiz and Kante, I have time to make the right decision. I have to check the situation to take the best decision.

“Kante has got a muscular injury, in his thigh.

“Our plan is to continue to work very hard to prepare for these final games, and also for the FA Cup final against Arsenal. This part of the season is not easy, every game is very tough, there is a lot of pressure, it’s difficult to recover. We are ready to face these four games.”

Asked if he will watch Tottenham match against West Ham tonight, he said:

“I don’t know if I will watch the game [ Spurs] because my wife and my daughter are in London, so maybe we will have a dinner together.”

Asked about Diego Costa’s future, he said:

“I don’t know about this, now it’s very important for every single person to be focused on Chelsea, the present is more important, we have 5 games until the end and we have to prepare for those.

“We haven’t discussed his future, because it’s not the most important thing now.

Speculations can distract players in this delicate moment of the year:

“I am not worried about this, I see my players every day and I can see the right concentration, the right focus, you have the chance to reach a fantastic target for us, to win the Premier League and play the FA Cup final, two big targets for us, they are very important. Speculations or news are not important.

“I repeat the same concept about him and about every single player for the future.”

Asked if these speculations were unsettling, he said:

“This part of the season it’s normal to cope with these speculations. Sometimes you can find the truth, other times it’s not.”

Speaking about Middlesbrough clash, he said:

“We must play a great game to try to get the three points, because this game is very important. With only three games to go it’s important to win, it won’t be easy because boro are fighting to survive in the league.”

“It’s normal when you stay in a great club to try to win the title and you must cope with pressure, every single player or the coach or club have good experience to face this moment.

Conte was also asked if, should he win the Premier League title, this will this be the greatest achievement of his career

“For sure to reach this result is a great achievement for sure, I hope to arrive to the end of the season with my players and club to celebrate something important for this season.
It won’t be easy until the end.

Middlesbrough are in the relegation zone and desperate to survive in the Premier League, asked if this game will be particularly tough for this reason, the Italian tactician said:

“In this case there are two teams with desperation to find the result. For us it’s the same, we have to win because Spurs are very close.”

Speculations of Conte moving to Inter next summer continues in Italy, ChelseaNews24 asked him if this annoyes or distract him:

“It’s the same. It’s the same speech for my players. The same for me. We must stay with great concentration until the end. I repeat: there is this great target, close, and for this reason I think we must think in the present. In the present. At this part of the season there are a lot of speculations about my players, also about me, but it’s not important. Not important, this. The most important thing now is to try and reach our target.”

The Blues boss explained also the importance of Cesc Fabregas:

“Fabregas is playing very well this season, his level is very high. He’s got a great commitment, great work during all the season, he’s playing very well, he’s a top player. Wether he starts the game or enter later, his contribution is important.”

Conte was asked if he can keep Cesc happy by just starting him now and again,  a player of that calibre and if he could  he become a leader in the absence of John Terry:

“Yeah… but I like to underline a concept, that I mustn’t keep the players happy. We must win. Because you can be happy at the right time, and to play every game. If you are unhappy in this season, when you are fighting for the title or to win the FA Cup, I think I don’t like when I listen to this type of questions. No, I don’t like. You speak about ‘happy’. I speak about ‘to win’ and to work very hard. I know that to work very hard is not simple. Players are not always happy to work very hard. But I think my target is to put in the mind of my players a winning mentality, and a winning mentality doesn’t have to keep the players happy. It’s very difficult to keep 20 players happy, above all because I don’t want to. I don’t want this. I want players ready to fight and to try to put themselves in the team, to try to win together. If you are happy or unhappy, I don’t care. It’s important to pass this concept, you understand?”

Conte was also asked if he will take the decision to ban the social media in the 48 hours previous to a game, like Jose Mourinho did at Manchester United:

“In social media I am a disaster, this topic is not simple to face, every single person must uses the social media in the right way, with balance. I think when you don’r have a good balance in using them is always dangerous. Especially when you are on holidays, bulglars can go to your house.”

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Franck Kessie has been one of the Serie A best youngsters so far and two big Italian clubs, As Roma and Ac Milan want to sign him this summer.

However, according to Atalanta sporting director Giovanni Sartori Chelsea seem to be the first option for the midfielder.

“The player wants to wait until the end of the season to make a decision, partly because he is attracted to the Premier League, as Chelsea really like him.” – Sartori said.

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Eden Hazard is the only Chelsea player in the list of nominees who can win the Premier League Player of the month award for April.

The Belgian star has to fight vs Eric Bailly (Manchester United), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Jan Verthongen, Son Heung-Min and Christian Eriksen (Tottenham) and Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace).

The winner will be announced next Friday.

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Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino was critic towards the “unfair amount of rumours” regarding his players.

Reports suggested that some Spurs’ players are considering to leave the club at the end of season should Chelsea beat Tottenham in the title race.

When asked about the situation of Kyle Walker and Toby Alderweireld, reportedly uncertain about their future, Pochettino said: “Why? I think you know and we know it’s not a moment to talk. The real situation is that we are working so hard, I try to explain to you that there is a lot of pride, because the chairman is the first who is creating a massive club for us, and the fans, because he is thinking to move the club into the last level in the next few years”.

Then he added: “We want to move the club to the last level. At the moment, if we are capable of that, maybe you will see the rumours will stop because, when you compare Tottenham to Manchester United or this type of club, you do not see the same sort of rumours as down here”.

Pochettino added: “Then of course, in our signings, we are creating a new team that, in the new stadium and with the new facilities, will be one of the best teams in the world.”

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