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CFC

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Chelsea winger Willian scored a decisive brace in the Blues’ victory against Stoke City in the last New Year’s Eve fixture and now he’s ready to face Spurs in a crucial London derby on Wednesday night, where the Blues can improve their gap on Liverpool – who sit second in the table – after Jurgen Klopp’s side drew at Sunderland this afternoon.

“It will be a very difficult game,” he claimed to Chelsea official website.

“We are playing away so we have to prepare to make sure we keep going in the same way. We are going there to try to win the game”.

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Great news for Chelsea and his fans after the first games of this Premier League fixture: title race rivals Liverpool drew 2-2 at Sunderland today, losing 2 precious points at 85′, when Sadio Mané – who had scored the 2-1 goal – provoked a penalty with a handball in the box trying to deflect the ball on a free-kick.

Now the Reds sit second in the table with 44 points, 5 less than Chelsea that got 49, but the Blues got a game in hand, to be played at White Hart Lane against Tottenham on Wednesday night.

A positive situation for Conte‘s guys, that now have the chance to increase their gap with Liverpool in case of a win against Spurs, that would bring them at 52 points, 8 clear on Klopp‘s side.

Meanwhile, other title rivals Manchester City won 2-1 in their home game against Burnley, so now they are third with 42 points.

 

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Antonio Conte admitted that his captain’s help is really important, despite the Blues skipper having skipped most of this season’s game due to a couple of injuries.

Terry doesn’t miss a game, despite don’t being able to play, and always travels with the squad in the away games to be a good captain with his team-mates:

“I want to mention John Terry also, because John is very important for us,” Conte said speaking to Chelsea official website.

“Even when he’s not playing, he helps us a lot in the changing room and in the training sessions, and I want to say thanks to him as well because his support is very important.”

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Chelsea boss Antonio Conte hails again his players, that were able to win 13 games in a row in the Premier League, being the undisputed leaders of the English championship:

“You see your players are very good at adapting to different situations,”Conte told to Chelsea official website.

“The Stoke game was different to the last one because they played long balls to [Peter] Crouch. For us it was very difficult to stop this situation, above all the second balls, and the free-kicks and corners to find him, but I’m pleased because I saw my players ready to face this situation. You have to fight every game to win, and the Stoke game was another great example of that.

Speaking of the derby against Spurs, he said:

Tottenham is another challenge, another type of football to face. They like to play from the back, they like to put a lot of pressure on when you are in possession. We have to prepare very well because this game will be very tough, for us and for them.

Tottenham are a great team. Last season they could have won the title, and this season they have a stronger team. For sure we will see a good game.

“We only have three days to prepare for this game, but we also have a lot of work we did in the past and we need that in this moment because we haven’t a lot of time to find a solution for this game.”

The Italian boss didn’t lose another chance to praise one of his top players, Diego Costa:

“Diego, together with his team-mates, is playing very well.

“Don’t forget we are a team. That’s important, to show you are together when you win and when you lose. I’m pleased when I see my striker scoring a goal, but I’m also pleased if Cahill scores a goal.

“Diego is a good guy and with him it’s important to joke, and when it is the moment to work, he works. He is always happy and he wants to show this. When you have this type of player who keeps the atmosphere always with good positivity, it’s important.

“I want to mention John Terry also, because John is very important for us, even when he’s not playing. He helps us a lot in the changing room and in the training sessions, and I want to say thanks to him as well because his support is very important.”

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Shocking announcement from a Chelsea rival, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.

Speaking to the NBC the ex Barcelona coach announced he is close to end his manager career:

“I will be in Manchester for at least other three years, but I feel the process to end my career has already started.

“I won’t coach until I will be 60-65 years old, I am sure I am getting close to my manager’s career end.”

Will Manchester City and Premier League be the last team coached by the Spanish manager or Pep will change his mind in the next three years?

 

 

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Diego Costa was very close to Atletico Madrid return last summer, the Spanish striker himself admitted it in a recent interview when asked about this matter:

“Could I have gone in the summer? Yes, yes. I was about to leave,” the striker said. 

“I was about to but, well, I’m happy here as well and that’s that. 

“Did I want to go? Yes, yes. I had the possibility to go to Atletico, because of a few things, the family, the life I have there but not because of Chelsea, because, here, there’s a lot of love with the supporters, with the people, so I’m here very happy, I’m very content.” 

Now, also Colchoneros manager Diego Simeone reveals the Chelsea striker was close to go back to Vicente Calderón and he has not lost hope about the deal:

“You never know if situations might change. 

“It is impossible to think about it, because it did not happen,” he concluded speaking about the failed attempt to bring back Costa to Atletico.

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Here is another extract of Antonio Conte‘s post match interview to BBC Sport:

“Now, it’s important to celebrate the arrival of the new year, then to think of the next game,” the Chelsea manager said after the 4-2 win against Stoke City on New Year’s Eve.

“Numbers are not important if you do not win the title. Now, they are fantastic and we are proud, but we must concentrate on the second part of the season.”

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PSV Eindhoven confirmed the return of Marco van Ginkel on loan from Chelsea.

This is the official statement the Dutch club just posted on their website:

Marco van Ginkel will spend the remainder of the 2016/17 campaign on loan from Chelsea with Eredivisie champions PSV. The midfielder will sign his contract on 2 January before joining Phillip Cocu’s squad for training.

Fully fit 
After a successful first loan spell in Eindhoven, PSV were hopeful of bringing the player back on another loan deal, but Van Ginkel revealed a persistent knee injury had dashed his hopes of returning to PSV. He remained at Chelsea to correct the problem with his knee that he had been nursing for several months. Meanwhile he has had some matches with Chelsea’s U23 side under his belt. “I am happy to have taken this road”, said Van Ginkel. “I needed rest and physiotherapy but I feel I am ready now to play football at the highest level again and I am grateful for PSV to have offered me this opportunity. I had a really good time in Eindhoven last season and winning the Dutch championship was amazing. I am fully fit again and hope to have more of the same in 2017.”

Adds experience to the squad
PSV’s director of football Marcel Brands thinks that Marco van Ginkel is a player who adds a wealth of experience to the squad. “We kept in touch with him the past few months because we looked for January reinforcements. We are happy Marco has returned to the Philips Stadion and are delighted to have bolstered the squad with his signing.”

Strong character
PSV head Phillip Cocu is also satisfied with the return of Marco van Ginkel and hailed his strong character. “He is a truly great box-to-box midfielder with stamina, tactical astuteness and defensive as well as attacking diligence. Moreover he is a clinical finisher. He showed his skills last season. I like his style of playing and I am happy he is back.” Last season, Van Ginkel scored eight goals in 13 league appearances as PSV won the Dutch title for a 23rd time.

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Chelsea boss Antonio Conte spoke to Sky Sports after Stoke City clash’s final whistle, a game that his guys won 4-2, keeping to lead the Premier League table, now with 49 points.

“I have to congratulate with my players,  to win 13 games in a row in the Premier League is extremely difficult and we could see it today: Stoke City played very well, they were really organised and aggressive, they crated us problems.

“I am happy because my players showed they could adapt to any situation, they work very hard and during the training sessions and also the matches they show me a lot of commitment and will to fight and win, so I am really happy for them.”

 

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Gary Cahill is back to his top form this year © Francesca Ceciarini

Chelsea current pitch captain Gary Cahill, that today scored also the goal that gave the Blues the 1-0, spoke after the 4-2’s win over Stoke City on New Year’s Eve:

“We had to dig deep and work hard at times. We were disappointed over their first goal, I thought it was offside.

“Nevertheless, we showed good character. We never felt like we were beaten, but it was a tough game, as we expected.

“We have to keep grounded and focused on what we are doing. This was difficult.

“We have a feeling at the minute that we don’t think we will get beaten, but that is because we’re working hard.”

 

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