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CFC

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Guus Hiddink press conference ahead of the Premier League match with Manchester City at Stamford Bridge:

TERRY, HAZARD, REMY OUT - “I think we had a good week, I am especially happy that some injured players came in, not all of them because Terry, Hazard and Remy are still out.

“It’s good to see of what they are able to do, I think I will play some youngsters, so they will get the experience, they have to go into tomorrow’s match with ambition and desire, we want to to do a good row until the rest of the season.

MAN CITY“For Man City is good to be in the last four of Europe, it’s a reward for their season, Liverpool was able to qualify after a crazy game and  for English football is good to have two teams winning in the European games.

“If City can be distracted from the Champions League? They had a wonderful week and they have still some days before they play Real Madrid, it’s encouraging for us, it’s one reason more to expect a strong opposition.”

CHELSEA SEASON“You have to consider all season: half way in December Chelsea was one point from the relegation, it was difficult to imagine that you could compete for the title at the end. These games are normally the ones that decide the championship, unfortunately this time not.”

DE BRUYNE-LUKAKU“They are quality players, it would not be nice to neglect that, they got huge qualities, their career has improved so far, it’s good to see them performing well, also for the upcoming EURO.”

EDEN HAZARD - “It’s been a long period [ since he has been injured] it hasn’t been alarming, but now he is coming back. It’s difficult when you are the player of the year, and then you have this drastic fall of form.

“I was breaking my head too to understand how to have him on track, I think he fell to match into injuries and it was difficult for him to come back.”

DIEGO COSTA - “He could take a break since he was missing some games but he didn’t, he worked very hard, he was in Cobham working with the staff, he is very ambitious, very eager to play.”

CHELSEA MOTIVATION FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON - “It’s strange, because this club used to be involved in the last weeks of the season in some fight for some title. You are a little be empty because there is no silverware to go for, this has been a very difficult season, but we made a great step out of relegation zone, some days you think about the thing you don’t fight for nothing, but then you have to react.

You see a little bit of [bad] reaction from the players, going a little bit more on injuries, now they must show what they are capable of.”

NEXT SEASON - “Of course there is a lot of work to do, they have to restart their energy.”

HIS FUTURE - “If I am asked I am available for this club.”

WHY SEASON WAS WRONG - “You have to go back to the start of the season, to August, untile December… We can make an analysis, of course I’ve got my opinion, but I think it’s not good for me to do it here.”

REACTION - “I want a reaction after the setback with the first defeat in the Premier League. For them it’s important to show what they can do, to show that they are happy to play for this big club. Some of them are going to play in the EURO, and they must arrive prepared, because it’s a tough competition.”

COMPETITION“Some clubs will have more money to spend in the next years, I think for the football is good that also smaller clubs will have the chance to sign better players.

Teams that were used to compete for the title or the Champions League spot will be chased.”

FALCAO- PATOLast week we brought many youngsters also because of the injuries. That’s good to go on that, to use this strategy, to permit to the youngsters to have more playing time.

“Pato deserved to start one game at least, to give him the chance to show what he is able to do not just in training.”

INJURIES -Cahill and Matic are in, Kenedy suffered a small injury but he will be able to be selected.”

 

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Terry and Lampard in last year challenge beteween Chelsea and Manchester City © Francesca Ceciarini

Chelsea legend Frank Lampard spoke to TalkSPORT ahead of the game between two of his English former clubs: the London Blues and Manchester City.

The New York City FC midfielder was surprised that he could properly follow the Premier League while in the USA:

“We get more games on TV here than in the UK,” he says over the phone from his New York home. “When I first got here, I wasn’t sure if I liked watching it. It was kind of fresh because I’d just finished, but as I’ve been here longer I’ve watched more.

“How would I sum up this season? A one-off. Refreshing. Just a crazy season.”

LEICESTER ON TOP -We all have our teams – I’ve got Chelsea strong in my heart, and a bit of Manchester City – but no one can say they haven’t been excited by the idea of a team like Leicester doing what they look like doing. Big teams have underperformed and Leicester are the fairytale. I thought they would be caught. But with the big results they’ve pulled off and the consistency they’re playing with, plus the lack of games left, I think it’s pretty much theirs. The only thing that can stop them now is the nerves that can come when a team isn’t used to being in that position. But they look like they’re enjoying it. There’s a difference between feeling pressure in a negative way and enjoying it, and at the moment the whole place is buzzing. Watching on TV you can feel the atmosphere. That might carry them over the line.”

RANIERI - “I’ve always followed Claudio Ranieri’s career because he was a huge turning point in mine when he took me to Chelsea. Leicester was a difficult job, though. I know he’s a good manager and a man who galvanises players, but I wasn’t sure what he had to work with there. He and every player have exceeded themselves. In recent weeks, when the pressure could have been tough for the players, he’s taken it off them with a smile and the way he behaves. It’s not just down to him, though. The players have come out of nowhere to look like world-beaters. Some are in their international teams now, when they were nowhere near them at the start of the season. They’re the ones who go out there and do it consistently, so credit to them.”

RELEGATION BATTLE -In recent years we’ve seen so-called big clubs, who believe they can’t go down, getting relegated. That’s when a club has to take a look at itself from top to bottom – from players to recruitment, owners and managers… Aston Villa have looked completely disjointed this season. In previous years they’ve consistently been at the higher end of the league, but now they look like one of the worst Premier League clubs we’ve seen.”

GUARDIOLA TO CITY - “When a club announces a new manager is coming in at the end of the season, it shouldn’t have any impact on the players. But history says it does affect teams. Manchester City will be the club that asks: ‘Was that the right time to announce it [Pep Guardiola’s signing]? They dropped from a title-winning position afterwards. When Chelsea announced that Antonio Conte was coming in they didn’t have much to lose, so for them it was wise to lay their cards on the table.”

CONTE TO CHELSEA - “Conte has a big job to do. There’s been a transition at Chelsea that looked like it was going in a good direction, but it’s gone in a completely negative one. They shouldn’t be where they are now. You can see Conte is going to take the bull by the horns and try to imprint his style and technique on the club. He might need to bring in players who will respond to that. There will be a change of personnel at Chelsea.”

CHELSEA SEASON - “Chelsea’s players have underperformed. Important players, too – ones who were at a really high level last year. I don’t know if that’s because of issues they have with the club, the manager; if it’s just form, or injuries. The players have to look at themselves and ask: ‘How can so many underperform to that level?’ You can have bad seasons, but you shouldn’t have a bad one where you finish in the bottom half. The big test is how they come back, because Chelsea can’t afford to be out of the top four for two years consecutively.”

JOHN TERRY’s FUTURE - “I imagined finishing my career at Chelsea, and I know John would have, too. But you do have moments when you wonder where your career is going, and I found that period difficult at the end of my time at Chelsea. It’s now the choice that John makes. If he doesn’t stay, where does he go? For me it’s been an amazing experience to go to Manchester and New York, even when I didn’t expect it. And it might be the same for John if it does go that way. But it’s a difficult situation – you’ve got a family and you’re wondering where you’re going to live. You go from being very stable and at a club you love to having to take in all these other variables. So it is not an easy time. John will be going through all that now.”

 

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Chelsea have been looking towards Roma a lot of late to revamp their squad for next season. Their latest interest is Antonio Rudiger, the German international on loan from Stuttgart.

The Blues have previously shown interest in Rudiger but there wasn’t ever anything strong enough to bring the player to Stamford Bridge.

According to Football Italia, soon-to-be manager Antonio Conte was impressed with Rudiger in the 4-1 defeat his Italian national side suffered at the hands of Germany.

The report indicates that the deal Roma currently have with Stuttgart enables them to purchase the player in the summer but then will look to offload him to Chelsea for around 20m euros.

 

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For months now Eden Hazard has been linked with a big move to Real Madrid, and more recently rumours suggest that a deal has already been agreed.

The Belgian international is currently out injured with a hip problem but has denied all of these rumours and insists that, at least for now, he is a Chelsea player and is happy at Stamford Bridge.

“I don’t know who is saying that, but it’s not true. At the moment, I’m at Chelsea. First I have to finish the season and I still have a contract for four years. I’m there and I’m currently feeling good over there. I want to be on the pitch as soon as possible – with Chelsea.”

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Higuain moved to Napoli for £34.5 million

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis revealed Gonzalo Higuain has a release-clause on his contract: “There is a release clause in his contract if we weren’t to qualify for the Champions League, which is obviously very important for a player of his calibre and we hope to offer him that opportunity.”

According to Express the incoming Blues boss Antonio Conte is believed to be preparing an offer worth around £75m to sign the striker, and Napoli could be forced to sell Higuain if they fail to qualify for the Champions League.

Manchester United are also being linked with the Argentina international forward.

“I haven’t received any offers for Higuain,” – he said – “If an offer was to arrive then we would have to see but we want to keep him here.”

 

 

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Chelsea are reportedly keen on Roma midfielder Miralem Pjanic, who could leave Italy at the end of the season.

Express Sport recently claimed that the Blues want to appoint Roma sporting director Walter Sabatini; his arrival could see Pjanic at Stamford Bridge, but Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport claim Bayern Munich are preparing a massive bid.

According to the Italian newspaper, the German side is eager to trigger the £30million release clause to try to sign the Bosnia international.

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Antonio Conte reportedly wants Walter Sabatini to join him at Chelsea.

According to The Sun, Sabatini’s arrival would ultimately result in the departure of current director Emenalo.

In spite of Conte’s decision to bring his own backroom staff with him, incoming Chelsea boss reportedly wants the current AS Roma sporting director to help him revamp the squad.

 

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Manchester City winger David Silva © Francesca Ceciarini

Manchester City star David Silva was delighted last night after his side triumphed against PSG but he urged his team-mates and him to stay focused on next games that are really important as well, like the next one they will play on Saturday afternoon against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, because the enthusiasm sometimes can become an enemy after games like the one Citizens lived last night:

“The manager is very happy but now we have to think about Saturday’s game against Chelsea, he said after the Champions League match.

“We have two league games in a very short space of time and we have to perform well.

“We have to try and finish as high in the table as we can to secure Champions League football next season.”

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Eden Hazard © Francesca Ceciarini

According to Italian website TuttoMercatoWeb.com Chelsea star Eden Hazard will replace Gareth Bale at Real Madrid.

The Welsh footballer refused to extend his deal with Merengues and now the two Manchester club, City and United, are keen to sign him offering to the ex Spurs star stunning deals.

In case Bale would join the Premier League again Real Madrid targeted Hazard to replace him: a swap with James Rodriguez is possible, or the Spanish side will have to pay around £ 50m to the Blues to secure the Belgian services for the next seasons.

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It seems next Chelsea manager Antonio Conte wants to keep Alexandre Pato next season at the Blues.

The Italian manager wants to give him a chance, knowing his potential since he could admire him in best days at AC Milan when they both were in Italy.

The Brazilian striker’s career was then ruined by some injuries but Conte is confident he can find his top form again at his orders and wants him to join the rest of the squad in the pre-season as soon as he will arrive after his experience at EURO 2016.

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