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Chelsea FC

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Chelsea boss Antonio Conte knows that to beat Manchester United in FA Cup Monday night clash won’t be as easy as it was last October, when the Blues smashed the Red Devils with a 4-0 win.

First of all, the Italian manager gave team news:

“All my players are available.

“JT will play? I have to decide the starting XI but for sure I will try to make the best decision for the team, we want to go next round and we have to beat Man United.”

Asked if this could be John Terry’s last game in FA Cup at Stamford Bridge:

“I hope it’s not his last FA Cup game at Stamford Bridge, I hope not but I don’t know. There will be a right time at the end of the season for this kind of things.”

About the rumours of Terry leaving in the end of this season, he said:

“He’s doing a great job on and off the pitch, for me he’s very important, he’s the captain, he’s working very well and he’s heping me a lot in the changing room. For sure he’s an important player for us.”

During October’s match Jose’ Mourinho was annoyed by Conte’s arousing the crowd on 3-0, a gesture that the Italian always explained with his bursting passion in the dugout, and today he explained again it was not a lack of respect, but just a normal behaviour for him:

“In every team I managed I showed my passion and I want share both this and my enthusiasm with my fans, my club. Anyway, for me me the most important thing is to try to win.”

Asked if he spoke to Mourinho in the past months, he said:

“I didn’t speak to Jose but it’s not important, we have nothing to clarify.”

Conte was also asked if the absence of Ibrahimovic, who got a 3-game-ban, could be an advantage for Chelsea in this game:

“I can tell you if this is an advantage for us after the game. I hope we can show in the pitch that we can beat them, I prefer to be focused on the game.”

About his future, Conte said:

“I am the first one to be be focused on the present, when the moment will arrive I will speak with the club. It’s important to be focused on the present. I don’t think anyone spoke with the club.”

About Arsene Wenger’s difficult moment at Arsenal, he said:

“It’s not an easy moment for him, but we are talking about a great manager. I guess he did very well in 20 years at Arsenal, every year Arsenal was competing in Champions League and inn England this is not easy, in this season you have to fight with six teams, next season will be probably seven or eight teams. In the past he won with Arsenal but I think he deserves respect for his past and his work.”

Asking if Mourinho’s mind games could help him to win more, Conte replied:

“The most important thing is the pitch. You have to prepare your team, you need to have a good organization, it’s the most important thing for me and for every coach. My players and I are very focused on the pitch, on our work, to improve every day. Mind games don’t bring you to win, you have just to be focused on the pitch.”

About the speculations of Chelsea players moving during next summer, Conte stated:

“In this moment there are a lot of speculations about the players, we are doing a good job, with my players, with my staff, we are doing very well and it’s important to continue this way. Don’t forget Chelsea are a great team that would like to keep great players.”

Despite beating them 4-0 in autumn, Conte reckons Man United are still a great team:

“In October before the game I was sure to face a great team, and the same I think now, I guess Manchester United got the best squad in PL along with Man City in term of numbers, they got many options, [they got] players used to win, for sure it will be a tough game, for us and them.
In October we didn’t know our future, now we are a team, we have a good identity, we are showing a good football, for sure it will be a tough game against them.”

Asked if he would like to complete a double in his first season, he said:

“First of all we have to win: now it’s very difficult to tell if I would like to do a double, there are eleven games to go and we need 24 points, for us it’s important to go game by game, in the league and also in the FA Cup, we want to go to the next round, it will be very difficult but we would like to go. Until now we didn’t win anything.”

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Chelsea full back Marcos Alonso revealed that is not sure to start against Manchester United in FA Cup Monday night clash:

“I’m happy because the team kept winning and that’s the most important thing,” the Spaniard said to the Telegraph.

“Now we have a big game against Manchester United and let’s see [if the manager keeps rotating]. I do not know if I will play.

“Let’s see what the manager decides. I have to recover from the game against West Ham to be ready if the coach decides to use me.”

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Eden Hazard revealed that he dreams to win the FA Cup with Chelsea, since this trophy is missing in his cabinet.

But between him, Chelsea and the Wembley semifinals there is a tough clash against Manchester United on Monday night:

“I am five years now with Chelsea and I never won this cup so I want it this year,” the Belgian told Chelsea official website.

“We know it is a fight against Man United every time but we did well this season when we won 4-0 at home [against them in the Premier League in October], so we hope we can do the same.”

“This season we have all reached a high level, me included.

“We are happy to play together. Last season was hard but two years ago was a great season. There are similarities with what we did two seasons ago and we want to do the same thing and get the title.

“But in England it’s never over until it’s over. You never know what’s going to happen. We will all give everything until the end to try to win the league.”

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According to the Daily Mirror Chelsea are keen to offer Nemanja Matic a new deal.

The Serbian midfielder, 28, has been a regular starter during this season and Blues boss Antonio Conte considers him a key player for his squad.

Surely the fact that other top teams are keen on him and are ready to sign him offering him a better contract could be another factor that pushed Chelsea to propose him a new deal: it has been rumoured that José Mourinho wanted to reunite with the ex Benfica player to Manchester United, as the Portuguese has got a lot of respect for the Serbian international and was the man that brought him back to Stamford Bridge in January 2014.

 

 

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Marcos Alonso has been one of Chelsea key-men and regular starters during this fantastic campaign for the Blues: he arrived from Fiorentina in the last days of the summer transfer window but, initially, there was a lot of skepticism about his skills and his real value, since it was a common opinion he couldn’t fit into Chelsea squad.

But Alonso proved everyone wrong and became one of the sensations of this season.

The Spaniard, anyway, explained that the Blues were not the only top team keen on him:

“Well, I think there was some conversations with Barcelona but the truth is that at that point it was not in my plans to leave Fiorentina,” he told IbTimes.

“It was only when the interest from Chelsea arrived in the summer when I started to consider to make a change.”

“There were some great teams interested in me in the summer but I decided to join Chelsea because they are a team that I had always liked,” he added.

“I saw a possibility of succeeding here. I had some other offers from other teams from Italy and Spain but when Chelsea came to get me, I did not think twice. Chelsea are a club that had always attracted me.

“From my early years at Bolton I knew that Chelsea were a great club and the truth is that I was right to come here. Things are going well but I have to continue this way because I think I still can give much more. Now with the tranquility of not having to prove anything I have to keep improving.”

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Chelsea are new Kings of London derbies © Francesca Ceciarini

Chelsea are the new Kings of London: after winning 2-1 the derby against West Ham last night the Blues reach 118 victories in the English capital derbies played in the Premier League.

Before last night Antonio Conte‘s side was sharing this particular record with Arsenal, that temporarily remains at 117.

Premier League leaders Chelsea obtained 118 wins from 229 games, meaning they have taken 417 points from a possible 687.

Here is the Premier League London Derbies table:

Schermata 03-2457820 alle 14.22.28

 

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Eden Hazard was one of the protagonists of Chelsea win at West Ham last night: the Belgian international opened the scoring after a thrilling counter-attack at minute 25.

It is easier for me to move inside,” said Hazard while speaking to Sky Sports after the game.

“Sometimes when I play wide I am alone. In this system we know what to do, we try to pass to each other all the time.”

Asked by Chelsea lenged Frank Lampard if they might beat the Premier League record of 95 points with which they won the title under José Mourinho in 2004/2005, the Belgian forward said they were not setting any targets other than winning the Blues’ sixth top-tier title.

“We are top and we want to stay there. We have 11 games left, and we will try to win the title as quickly as possible.”

“Tonight we played a good game, maybe not the best of the season but we scored two goals and won.”

 

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Victor Moses challenging Spurs star Harry Kane in November 2016 game at Stamford Bridge © Francesca Ceciarini

Harry Kane claimed Spurs must be ready to take advantage of the situation in case Chelsea would slip up in Premier League title race:

“We’ve got to concentrate on ourselves, build a gap on the teams around us and if Chelsea drop points then great and if they don’t then we’ll be second or third,’‘ the Tottenham striker said.

“Hopefully. It’s hard to talk and say we are because we’ve got to show we are,” said the English forward, who leads the Premier League scoring charts with 19 goals.

“We were disappointed last year, as we all know. We are in a good position now, trying to catch Chelsea, but it’s important we build a gap between the teams around us as well and with Man United and Arsenal dropping points it was important we capitalise.”

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Eden Hazard is back to top performances this season and the Belgian claims that most part of the merit is Antonio Conte’s, that gave him a better role and helped the squad to improve:

“It’s easier for me to play more inside now and link up,” Hazard claimed after the win against West Ham.

Last season I was more out wide and there I am sometimes alone, against two guys.

Antonio Conte is a great character and he helps us a lot.”

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Antonio Conte is doing an awesome job at Chelsea © Francesca Ceciarini

Frank Lampard spoke about Chelsea fantastic season and Antonio Conte‘s impressive job that transformed the Blues during the last months:

“It is a nice situation, you are top of the league and some games you are winning comfortably,” the Blues legend claimed while speaking to Standard Sport.

“You can give some players time, but at the same time it doesn’t have to be the case. He could concentrate on the moment. 

“People talk about a manager’s lifespan being two years so why should you worry about 18-year-olds. But from seeing Conte bringing young players in, incorporating them into the training squad, showing faith in them… I know the work that is being done in the academy and they deserve that. 

“They deserve those lads being given time so let’s hope some of them push through and really become top players.”

Lampard gave also his opinion on last season’s disaster:

“They obviously relaxed after winning the league previously. The minute you relax in football, whether as an individual or as a team, you really feel it, especially in the Premier League now. 

“Last year was a perfect storm in a negative way, where players backed off and when you get bad results, that can become a bit of a feeling around the squad. That had to go. But what I didn’t imagine, was that the reaction would be so good. I expected them to challenge, to be in the top four, I didn’t expect them to go so far clear and that is credit to the club.”

About his future, Lampard said:

 

“I haven’t got a clear route. At the minute I need to get my badges. To shout my mouth off that I am going to get this job or that would be completely wrong and I wouldn’t feel right doing it anyway. 

“I am very calm about it. I am working behind the scenes at the minute with young players, learning the trade on the other side of the fence which is a big change. I’ll make my decision down the line.

“Chelsea are helping me with my badges and I am thankful for that. The badges are a process and that will take some time. I will do some TV to keep me involved and I am interested in that kind of stuff so that leaves me with my options open. 

“When you finish, it is important you don’t make a rash decision straight away. You are in this bubble of being a player and you can step outside that and make sure you make the right decision. Fortunately, I have got options so it is about taking the right one.”

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