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Chelsea FC

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Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta commented the win against Boro, after which the Blues got the top of the league:

“Always a win and to be top of the table gives you more confidence because this is where we want be and, obviously, even at this stage, it is important,” the Spanish player said after the final whistle.

I enjoy winning, we are in good shape and we are keeping clean sheets, we are scoring goals and that’s the most important thing. We, the players, are enjoying the way we are playing. It is still a long way to go, but we climbed to the top of the table when we had the chance and we have to keep working.

“The most important thing is to finish, in May, in this position. We are there and we are working to keep this place and to try to be there at the end of the season.”

“We know every game is different. We would like to win every game 5-0, but we know that’s not possible.

“The opponents they play and, today, against some moments we had difficulties but we suffered together and the most important thing is that we have the three points, they are massive points.” 

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Chelsea and Nigeria winger Victor Moses, now a regular starter for the Blues, spoke after the important win at Middlesbrough, that put the Conte’s side top of the league:

“I’m happy I got into the starting eleven and I want to improve in every game, ” Moses stated in his post match interview.

“I have been on loan three times, but we have a good manager here who wants to give youngsters an opportunity.”

Continuing to speak about the game, Moses said:

” In the second half, Boro came at us, but we were very strong at the back. The big man here (Cahill) was dominating.

“I think we showed great character today from the start. We had chances in the first half and we should have taken them.

 “We have to keep working hard to make sure we stay at the top until the end of the season.

” It’s very tight from the fifth to the first.The league is hard this season, we want to take each game as it comes.”

 

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Chelsea were in super form in October and the team dominated that month’s Premier League awards and after Antonio Conte being named as the best manager of the month, Eden Hazard is awarded with the EA Sports Player of the Month prize.

“It means a lot, we played a very good month,” was first Eden Hazard’s comment on his award

“I scored a lot of goals and all the team played well. We scored a lot of goals and we didn’t concede a goal. I’m the best player this month but the most important thing is at the end to win the league and to do that we have a lot of things to do from now until then.”

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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte wanted to turn down speculations on Oscar and Cesc Fabregas’ future: the pair was said to be set to leave the Blues already in January transfer window, with Italian and Chinese teams interested in them ( many rumours led to Inter and Milan, that want to revamp their squad with big names signings after being both acquired by new – and different- Chinese owners).

The Italian manager said:

Oscar‘s future is Chelsea, for me he’s an important player, he’s a in a good form, it’s logical I have to choose a starting XI every week, he’s a great player and for me he will stay in Chelsea, it’s important this message arrive, he will stay with us because I consider him an important player for Chelsea.

Cesc Fabregas recovered from his injury and he’s in a great shape. I want to anticipate the question: Fabregas’ future is the same of Oscar, he will stay at Chelsea.”

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Chelsea boss Antonio Conte spoke ahead of Middlesbrough game on Sunday, the first one after mid-November international break.

First of all, he gave an injury update:

“I have all the players available, they are in good form, Diego Costa had a small injury after the game against Everton, he started to train with us on Wednesday, his physical condition is good, we got also tomorrow to see perfectly the situation, but at the moment he can play. Eden Hazard is fit, he got only a knock.

“It’s a great pleasure and honour to receive the PL manager of the month award after just three months, it’s important to share this award with my players, with the staff and with the club, this is an award for all the team.

I’m pleased for Eden because he’s playing fantastic football, he’s got a great attitude and commitment also in training, he’s working a lot for the team, this is fantastic, it’s very good when he put his talent for the team.

“Eden like Ronaldo and Messi? I think we can go like the team, step by step, I think it’s not right to compare him to other players in this moment, I guess he got everything to do a great career.

“I said after the game against Everton that it was a pity to stop our run for the international break, but it’s important to continue in the way we did before the international break, I hope we found the right concentration and focus to restart after the break.

About Chelsea involved in the title race Conte said:

First of all I see a great opportunity this year to bring something important to Chelsea, to bring a new method, a new philosophy, you want to fight until the end in the title race or for a place in the Champions League, I still got the same opinion: it’s important to keep working and build something for Chelsea, for the future.

Assistant coach Steve Holland might take a permanent job as Gareth Southgate’s assistant at England national team, this is what the Italian manager said about this:

Steve Holland is a great professional, I’m pleased to have him as my assistant coach in Chelsea, for his work and also for the man, he’s focused on Chelsea now, he’s working really hard, I don’t know what is his decision for his future, but I don’t want to go in his decision, he worked with Southgate in U21 and he showed he’s great.

Speaking about Chelsea good moment Conte said:

“I’m very glad for our good run, I think we played a good football, we were really compact and we found a good balance, this is very important. This tactical system and starting XI is very good for the players, because I see them being very happy to play like this.

John Terry got injured while Conte was changing his tactical system and lost his place in the starting XI, but the ex Italy coach claimed the captain can regain his place in the starting formation:

“Terry can find a place in this formation, easily, he’s in a good shape. I am happy to have this adaptation from centre-backs, I am happy that Kurt [Zouma] now is with us, but in this moment he will need more time to find the good form, so we prefer him to keep playing with U23.

Asked about the differences about Premier League and Serie A Conte said:

“There is a big difference respect to Italy, and you have to be quick to understand this difference, every game everything can happen, the intensity is high and you have to play with high intensity if you want to win, this league is very tough, we must always have a great concentration from the start until the end, I try every day to push my players on this, even if they already know it.

Conte was also asked about players professional behaviour in their private lives after England and Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney was seen drunk in the national team hotel after last week win against Scotland:

“I give freedom to players when they have spare time, I want them to take their responsibilities, it’s normal to celebrate after you win a game, but you need also to think about the next game.

Oscar‘s future is Chelsea, for me he’s an important player, he’s a in a good form, it’s logical I have to choose a starting XI every week, he’s a great player and for me he will stay in Chelsea, it’s important this message arrive, he will stay with us because I consider him an important player for Chelsea.

“We have a competitive squad, it’s normal during the season to have some injuries, I think we get a good squad to cope with injuries.

Cesc Fabregas recovered from his injury and he’s in a great shape. I want to anticipate the question: Fabregas’ future is the same of Oscar, he will stay at Chelsea.”

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Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic praised Chelsea loanee Lucas Piazon, who joined the West London club in the end of the summer transfer window:

“Lucas Piazon, in the last few games, has started to be a very important player for us. He is very fast and has experience playing in this competition,” the Serbian coach said.

“He played 23 games for Reading last season, so he didn’t need a lot of time to adapt himself. We are happy with what he has offered in the last few games.”

The Brazilian joined Chelsea in 2012 but has only made one league appearance for the club and was sent out loan to several sides in these four years.

“He stayed with us during the international break, when we are not working with a complete team. Step by step, without any game, we try to detect what these players can offer us, how they can help us,” Jokanovic concluded.

 

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Branislav Ivanovic lost his place in Chelsea starting XI after Antonio Conte‘s tactical system change and now he also risks to lose his contract: in fact, it’s really unlikely the Blues directors will extend his contract at the end of this season and he will be free to move to another side as a free agent.

The Serbian, who arrived at Chelsea in 2008 from Lokomotiv Moscow, has been targeted by Barcelona, who are looking for a right-back after Aleix Vidal failed to fulfill expectations: the Spanish club might try to sign Ivanovic in the January transfer window already.

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Thorgan Hazard explained how is to be captained in Belgium by his older brother, Chelsea star Eden Hazard.

The Blues forward became the skipper of his national team after Vincent Kompany started to skip many games because of his injuries:

“Eden and I are brothers, but in the national team, we’re rivals (smiles). There will never be a fight between us, and he might be happy for me if I take his spot. There will be no jealousy, that’s for sure.”

Thorgan explained the difference between his brother and Kompany as Belgium captains:

“They have different ways of wearing the armband. Eden isn’t someone who will talk a lot, but when he wants to, he can be heard by the group. When he speaks, everyone listens.”

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The start of his adventure at Manchester United wasn’t the best one, but according to Chelsea legend Didier Drogba another Blues legend,  José Mourinho, will eventually succeed at the Red Devils:

“He’s not a has-been,” the Ivorian striker said to RTL.

Man United currently sit sixth in the league table, already 8 points from Liverpool, who are leading with 26 at the moment:

“I think that it’s a very big challenge for him,” Drogba continued.

“I think he has to take some time to build a team.”

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Ex England coach Fabio Capello thinks Antonio Conte’s focus on defence will prove the difference in Chelsea’s title race with Liverpool.

The Reds are top of the table with 26 points, one more than Chelsea, and already scored 30 goals in 11 games, but the Blues have done a better job in defence, conceding only 9 goals and keeping five clean sheets in the last five games:

Liverpool are spectacular. What is not known is how long it will last,” Capello told to The Sun.

“Chelsea are solid. Conte is working well.

“To score against Chelsea is really difficult.

“For me that can happen until the end.”

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