Tags Posts tagged with "champions"

champions

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Chelsea boss Antonio Conte admitted his team will struggle to retain the Premier League title this year.

Having fell down to 4th position in the table with 13 points,  behind leading duo Manchester City and Manchester United after Saturday’s defeat against Pep Guardiola‘s side, the Italian manager claimed he had an easier job when managing Juventus to hold the title in Serie A:

“It is very difficult for every team in this league. To defend, it is very difficult to win two titles in a row.

”We won the title with Juventus and I was expecting a really strong challenge from AC Milan, but instead they sold Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva to Paris St Germain, so they became weaker. It wasn’t simple second time, but it was easier.

“Here, from last season to this season, you have big teams and now they are bigger… And now after I think a great transfer market, they have improved a lot. It’s not simple to play this league.”

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On Saturday Chelsea will face Manchester City at Stamford Bridge. Pep Guardiola‘s team are top of the table now and the players are confident they can get a good result vs the reigning Premier League champions.

City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, for example, has a message for his rivals: “It’s a huge game and it’s away, so it’s even more difficult, but we feel ready”. – Gundogan said – If you ask the manager there is always something to improve but we know that we are a great team, we have great players and it’s just up to us to prove that every fourth day. It’s also about character, going to Stamford Bridge against the champions to play our game. We’re going to prove that we are ready for that and hopefully it will be a great game for us.”

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Fifa confirmed today that they have launched an investigation into Chelsea‘s youth players recruitment.

We can confirm” – a FIFA statement said – “that an investigation is ongoing, however please note that we cannot provide any details concerning the matters under investigation. We have no further comment”. 

It is the third time in eight years that the Premier League champions are facing a FIFA’s investigation.

 

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Speaking to Sport Review on BT Sport, Jermaine Jenas made his predictions for the Premier League season that has just started.

The former Spurs midfielder believes both Manchester sides and Chelsea will make it to the top four, but Pep Guardiola’s team will win the title:

“I think both Manchester clubs will be in the top four along with Chelsea, Jenas claimed.

“Then it’s almost a battle between Liverpool, Spurs and Arsenal.

“I think Spurs will do it and end up in the top four. They’ll have enough and get used to Wembley.

“And I think Manchester City will win the league. Those are my predictions!”

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Antonio Conte feels next season will be the toughest of his career.

The Chelsea boss explained why ahead of Community Shield game against Arsenal:

“There are many reasons which suggest to me that next season will be very tough, the most difficult of my career, I have this perception,” Conte told the club’s website.

“In England the pressure is high, this is the strongest league in the world because there are six teams ready to fight for the title. Only one team can win it…

“We want to try to fight for the title until the end but it won’t be easy. We are working very well to try to do this. The pressure is always the same. I put pressure on myself and it helps me to give my best.”

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Antonio Conte claims Chelsea have to remain with feet on the ground in the approach of the new season.

The Blues lost their last two games of the Asian tour against Bayern Munich ( 2-3) and Inter ( 1-2) and the Italian manager is concerned his side can repeat the two years ago debacle, with Chelsea dropping to relegation zone in a couple months as defending Premier League champions:

“We know that it will be difficult next season, and we want to avoid the previous season after winning the league. Two years ago, the team finished 10th place in the league and we want to avoid this.

“Two coaches were sacked from Chelsea after they won the league. I want to avoid, and the players want to avoid, the last season with Mourinho.

New £60 million striker Alvaro Morata was given his first start against Inter but struggled to make an impression and was replaced in the second half.

“Morata is starting now and he has to improve his condition a lot. He is working very well and has been with us only five days. Today, he tried to do his best, but for sure, he has to improve.”

About a possible strike partnership with Morata and Michy Batshuayi, Conte said:

“Now, it is necessary because we don’t have other players.”

Conte admits the tight schedule has been tough on his players, but he insists the experience in Singapore made a very positive impression.

“We played against two strong teams in Bayern Munich and Inter Milan in a very important period for us because we are working very hard.

“But to play three games with the same players means we are tired, very tired.

“We must be pleased about the atmosphere and our fans because to find so many Chelsea fans in China and Singapore is great and I think this is big responsibility for us. We have a lot of supporters all over the world and in Singapore there was a fantastic atmosphere.

“I want to thank all of our fans because they were fantastic. We saw a lot of fans a the hotel, waiting for the players’ autographs and photos. I think this is a big responsibility for us.”

The future of Nemanja Matic remains uncertain, this is how Conte replied on this matter:

“I know nothing about this. You have to ask the club.”

The Italian coach was also asked for his thoughts on the incredible long-range own goal that Geoffrey Kondogbia scored in Chelsea’s favour.

“It can happen. People who play football know very well that this kind of thing can happen.”

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Chelsea midifielder N’Golo Kante revealed how Antonio Conte is motivating the team in the beginning of this new season with the Blues.

The Italian boss doesn’t want his guys to let down their guard after winning the title last May: Conte wants to avoid a disastrous campaign beginning like it happened two years ago, when the team relaxed after winning the Premier League under José Mourinho and had a nightmare start that led them to sink until the relegation zone, a fact that led to the sacking of the Portuguese manager. Chelsea were not able to improve very much under Guus Hiddink and finished sitting 10th in the table, the worst result in the Abramovich era.

“He [Conte] has been speaking about working hard to get in a winning mentality quickly,” Kante told the London Evening Standard.

“We start a new chapter for Chelsea and a new chapter in our careers for everyone. We need to start to work to get our energy for the season.

“He didn’t speak about what we did last season and winning the league, he just spoke about working hard to be ready for the season coming up.”

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Chelsea boss Antonio Conte confirmed that, despite speculations insisting he would accept Inter offer in Italy, that he will stay at Stamford Bridge next year, revealing his family- that was still living in Turin this year- will move to London with him, a big change for the Italian tactician:

“My family will move to London next season,” he told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

“We are planning the future [with Chelsea], we got the base, we miss the cherries on top.

“I still have two year of contract, they [Chelsea] show to appreciate me, we share the same ideas and also the kind of project [for the future of the team].

“When you have the same pace in the construction of some things you are calm.”

 

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Cesar Azpilicueta played every minute in every game of Chelsea‘s Premier League campaign.

The Spanish player knows the title was a big achievement for himself and all his team-mates, but now he is ready to get another reward on Saturday, in the Fa Cup final vs Arsenal.

“Obviously it’s not easy to play every minute and win the league,” – Azpilicueta told Chelsea official website – “It’s a big achievement. I’ve tried to do my best to get in the team but I have to be thankful to the manager, he’s trusted me a lot. I was always in the team and the only way I could repay his confidence was by working hard which is what I’ve tried to do since pre-season. In the end we got a big reward but we want a bigger one next Saturday”.

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Signed from Fiorentina last summer, Marcos Alonso was one of the key-men and scored six goals in Chelsea‘s Premier League campaign.

On Sunday at Stamford Bridge he lifted the first major trophy of his career and he expressed all his joy about it:

“It’s my first big trophy, very special,” Alonso told Chelsea official website.

“Also, to get 30 wins is a new record as well. We’ve been working hard all year, the manager has done a great job and he’s had every player focused on our objective, which was the title. I’m very happy for him”.

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