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CFC

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After John Terry’s departure in the end of the season Chelsea will have to find another leader in the dressing room and, according to Blues boss Antonio Conte, that will a tough job:

“It’s not easy. Don’t forget this season some very important players for this team, people that made history here, like Ivanovic or Mikel, left and the next season also John Terry will be gone.

“It’s not easy to find the right replacement, for this season I say we are starting to build something important, now we have to find together the right players to replace these players and write again the history for this club. It’s not easy, people have to understand this.”

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Thibaut Courtois skipped Manchester United‘s clash after an ankle injury he picked up during a commercial shoot, but it seems the Belgian keeper will be able to play tomorrow in the FA Cup semifinal against Spurs:

“He recovered for his injury and trained with us in this week, this is the most important thing.

“I spoke about what happened with the club, I keep secret what we said, commercial is an important part for the club, we have to find the right solution.”

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Gary Cahill was hospitalized for two days after falling ill last Tuesday: a club spokesperson revealed the English defender had a bad gastroenteritis that wasn’t related, anyway, to the bug that affected Marcos Alonso, Diego Costa and Victor Moses in the past weekend, with the Spanish full-back forced to skip the game against Manchester United at last minute:

“For sure this period it’s not lucky for us,” Conte claimed speaking about Cahill’s illness.

“When we started to train back on Tuesday he arrived to training ground with a bit of fever and our doctor preferred to bring him to the hospital to check his condition, now he’s getting better, but for tomorrow he’s a doubt. His problem was that he got gastroenteritis, but we are controlling the situation.”

His physical condition is not good after two days in hospital and not training the whole week, that’s why the Blues centre-back won’t be probably selected for this crucial upcoming clash.

Due to Cahill’s illness, Conte could be forced to choose another defender in the three back and John Terry can be a possible candidate:

“This is a semifinal, in this season we tried to have two options in every position, John’s position is in the middle in the 3 back, usually where David Luiz play, I have to think for tomorrow, we have different solutions.”

Nathan Ake and Kurt Zouma are the favourite candidates to replace Cahill in tomorrow’s starting line-up.

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Antonio Conte started his press conference ahead of Spurs FA Cup semifinal giving his condolences to Ugo Ehiogu‘s family after the Tottenham coach passed away this morning.

The Italian manager seemed very touched by this sudden tragedy and added:

“When this kind of situations happen football is not important, it’s not easy to speak about this, this situation hits everyone of us, for sure tomorrow there will be a strange atmosphere.

“It’s a pity, because he was very young, only 44, in these situations you start to think about many things, not good things, we are very sad for this, we can remember him tomorrow, it’s the least we can do.”

About Gary Cahill’s illness, he said:

“For sure this period it’s not lucky for us. When we started to train back on Tuesday he arrived with a bit of fever and our doctor preferred to bring him to the hospital to check his condition, now he’s getting better, but for tomorrow he’s a doubt. His problem was that he got gastroenteritis, but we are controlling the situation.”

Due to Cahill’s illness, Conte could be forced to choose another defender in the three back and John Terry can be a possible candidate:

“This is a semifinal, in this season we tried to have two options in every position, John’s position is in the middle in the 3 back, usually where David Luiz play, I have to think for tomorrow, we have different solutions.”

On John Terry leaving Chelsea at the end of this season he said:

“John has been very important for me in this season, he’s helping me on the pitch and off the pitch, he’s a great captain for us. He wants to play regularly and we have to respect his decision, I was a footballer and I know that when you arrive at this point of your career and your body tells you you can continue to play, you have to do it, your body tells you when it’s over. I think it will be a big loss for next season, for the changing room, in this moment his loss is very important.”

Thibaut Courtois skipped Manchester United‘s clash after an ankle injury he picked up during a commercial shoot, but it seems the Belgian keeper will be able to play tomorrow:

“He recovered for his injury and trained with us in this week, this is the most important thing.

“I spoke about what happened with the club, I keep secret what we said, commercial is an important part for the club, we have to find the right solution.”

Diego Costa apparently received a new huge offer from a Chinese side:

“The most important thing for us it’s to be focused on the present,” Conte replied.

“We have to keep the concentration, we have to finish in a great way, I hope we do something extraordinary. This moment is very important for the club because we’re building foundations, we’re doing a great job together.”

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino claimed that his side are still underdogs, but Conte tried to put some pressure on them claiming this is not the truth:

“They have to finish to consider themselves underdogs, they are a great power in English football now, they are a great team, it’s the second consecutive year they fight for the title. They are building something important, there is a moment where you have to finish to consider yourself an underdogs, this the right moment.”

Asked if a win or defeat tomorrow can affect the title race, Conte replied:

FA Cup and Premier League are very different competitions, if one team win or lose doesn’t affect title race.”

Asked if he wanted to win a double in his first season at Chelsea and in England like his fellow-Italian manager Carlo Ancelotti, he replied:

“Of course we aim to the double, but my situation it’s very different from the Ancelotti’s one. He had the foundation, we’re building them.”

Asked if it will be more difficult to play in a neutral venue like Wembley, he replied:

“I don’t know about this, to play in your stadium of course it’s an advantage, for us it’s the same, it’s different play Wembley and Stamford Bridge, the same it’s for Tottenham. You feel you play in your house, and the opponent feel the same when they come to your house.”

After John Terry’s departure in the end of the season Chelsea will have to find another leader in the dressing room and that will a tough job:

“It’s not easy. Don’t forget this season some very important players for this team, people that made history here, like Ivanovic or Mikel, left and the next season also John Terry will be gone.

“It’s not easy to find the right replacement, for this season I say we are starting to build something important, now we have to find together the right players to replace these players and write again the history for this club. It’s not easy, people have to understand this.”

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Cesc Fabregas speaks about Terry decision to leave Chelsea at the end of the season.

The Spanish midfielder considers The Blues’ legend announcement at least surprising if not unexpected: “It came as a surprise. There was a lot of talk and speculation that it could be his last year but we didn’t know for sure. It is a very personal decision between him and the club. – Fabregas told TalkSport – It is a shame because I cannot see anyone replacing the role he does in the team. He is irreplaceable for now.”

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David Luiz knows Fa Cup semifinal vs Tottenham will be a difficult task for Chelsea, not only because of the rivalry between the two teams or because Pochettino’s side is in a very good form.

There’s also something more according to the Brazilian defender: “For me they are an amazing team with an amazing coach in Maurico Pochettino,” – David Luiz said – “They are the best physical team in the League. All 11 players are monsters. I love that team. It will be a difficult game for us. We need to be ready to play against one of the best sides in this League. But it was always going to be hard when you reach a semi-final. Will we have to be monsters too? Yes. Chelsea also have some monsters and play like a monster like N’Golo Kante. We have different kind of monsters. It will be a fantastic game, both clubs are in amazing shape. It will be a top-quality match to watch and you have to play top quality to win.”

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Chelsea paid tribute to Spurs U23 coach Ugo Ehiogu, who died this morning after suffering a cardiac arrest while working at Tottenham training ground in Enfield yesterday.

The official statement read:

Chelsea Football Club sends our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Ugo Ehiogu, and our opponents tomorrow Tottenham Hotspur following the passing of their Under-23s coach this morning. 

The FA have confirmed both teams will wear black armbands at Wembley and there will be a minute’s applause prior to kick-off. 

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Ugo Ehiogu died today after suffering a cardiac arrest at Spurs training ground yesterday. He was only 44.

Tottenham were hit by the tragic death of their U23 coach Ugo Ehiogu in the eve of the important FA Cup clash against Chelsea.

The former Aston Villa and Boro defender died this morning after being hospitalized yesterday.

Ehiogu, who was just 44 and collected also 4 England caps in his career, collapsed at Spurs training ground while working and was rushed to hospital but died today for the consequences of a cardiac arrest.

This is the official note that Tottenham published on their website to announce the sad news:

Ugo received immediate treatment after suffering a cardiac arrest at the Training Centre yesterday before being transferred to hospital, where he passed away in the early hours of this morning.

Head of Coaching and Player Development John McDermott said: “Words cannot express the shock and sadness that we all feel at the Club. Ugo’s immense presence will be irreplaceable. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to his wife Gemma and his family.”

The Club sends its deepest condolences to Ugo’s family.

Gemma has specifically asked that the family are given privacy at this difficult time.

We should also like to place on record our thanks to all the medical professionals including those at North Middlesex University Hospital, Royal Brompton Hospital and Harefield Hospital for their care and support.

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Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino claims Chelsea are the favourite to win this FA Cup semifinal but, meanwhile, it’s not easy to beat Tottenham, who have been in a positive run with 8 wins in a row:

“To have to play the semi-final against one of the best teams in Europe doesn’t happen often,” he told reporters.

“If there’s a favourite it’s Chelsea, top of the Premier League, with experienced players and the manager they have.

We’re talking about the team who in the last five years won European competitions and a manager who won the title in Italy.

“They’re more experienced, but we are in different process with different momentum to Chelsea. It is impossible to compare us.

“They have players who have won trophies, including the World Cup (Cesc Fabregas and Pedro of Spain).

“Our players have not won nothing. We’re improving a lot. First you have to be there and challenge and we have the opportunity to do that.

“It’s up to us to step up and make the dream a reality.”

Spurs are now only four points from Chelsea in the Premier League table and Pochettino suggested the club were ahead of schedule as they fought to establish themselves as big-hitters:

“Three years ago when I came here it was all about how we can reduce the gap with the top four,” he said.

“That was the main problem Tottenham had. Not only have we reduced the gap but we’re fighting for the Premier League, to win titles.”

Last season Spurs collapsed in the end of the campaign, slipping to third place after fighting for the title with Leicester City until the beginning of May:

“We’re showing we learned from last season and if we only see the data it shows we have improved a lot,” added Pochettino.

“With six to play we’ve achieved 71 points when last season we finished with 70. We improved, that’s a reality.

“The team are playing in a good way, exciting football, scoring goals, conceding not too much. We are in a great moment.

“Now is the moment to translate those stats and that feeling and show if you’ve grown up and learned or if you’re very close to winning the league or the FA Cup. That’s the most difficult step to achieve.”

 

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Chelsea defender Gary Cahill is a doubt for FA Cup semifinal against Spurs after spending two nights in hospital with mysterious illness, Matt Law from The Indipendent reports tonight.

“It is understood Cahill was admitted to hospital on Tuesday after training and was only released on Thursday, following treatment and tests, putting his participation in the semi-final tie in doubt,” Law writes in his exclusive report.

“Cahill first started to feel ill on Monday, the day after playing in Chelsea’s Premier League defeat to Manchester United in which Conte’s plans had been hit by illness and injury” he continues.

Marcos Alonso missed the United game with a stomach bug that Diego Costa and Victor Moses played with, while goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois injured his ankle in a basketball promotional shoot.

The English centre-back could be replaced by Kurt Zouma or John Terry, should he fail to recover before Saturday.

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