Chelsea boss Antonio Conte spoke today before the FA Cup against Wolves.
The Blues manager revealed that the whole squad is fit for this crucial game but, anyway, he will give rest to some players:
“John Terry is fit for this game, he is ok.
“All the players are available but there are situations that is better to keep under control, Marcos Alondo and David Luiz will rest, we gave him [Luiz] a week to recover well and prepare for next game, all the players are in good form and I will make the best decisions for the game.
“Luiz is better, his knee after Man City game was bad compared to now, it’s normal to control the situation, but he’s good, he’s working with te physios and the situation is under control.
“I don’t know about Diego Costa’s new contract situation, I think now it’s very importat to look at the present and not to look so forward, all people at Chelsea must focus on the present, then we will see the situation.
“I am confident for him to stay, but now it’s important to keep a great concentration for the present, and the present is tomorrow’s game against Wolves, we must go through the next round.
“Would I like to win the double? I like to win, I like to win with my team, every competition, in every season, it won’t be easy to win the league and the cup, of course I will like to win both, because when you are at Chelsea you need this winning mentality.
“There are six teams in the title race, all very strong, and in the cup there are 16, but tomorrow it won’t be easy, don’t forget Wolves won against Liverpool and Stoke away, we must pay attention because this team showed in the past they can beat great teams like Liverpool and Stoke City, I hope tomorrow the other side will be different and Chelsea going to the next round.
Conte was asked if it would be possible to see him to manage in the Premier League at 67, like Arsene Wenger is doing, but the Italian manager was evasive in his answer, where he praised the Gunners boss:
“I have great respect for him, I think he did a great job in 20 years for Arsenal and he’s still doing it, he’s one of the best in the world, we all know that in some moments the results are not good, but it’s important to not forget the job that a manager, and players, did in the past.
About Mark Clattenburg quitting his referee role in English football, he claimed:
“It’s a pity Clattenburg is leaving because he’s a really good referee, it’s a pity that he wants to go and he took this choice, it’s not a good news for us, because it’s important to have the best [referees], and he’s one of the best referees in this country and seeing him go away it’s a pity. I am a bit sorry for this.
Dominic Solanke’s contract with Chelsea is expiring next June and the striker allegedely asked 50.000 pounds per week, an amount that the Blues director believe is outrageous for a young kid with no much first team experience:
“I don’t know his future,” Conte said”We should have a crystal ball to predict it, he’s a Chelsea player now, I wish him and his family the best.
“I am not sure he will leave, but I think this is his will. I think it’s better to ask this question to him. I’ve been here only for seven months, I think to stay in a team like Chelsea is a great opportunity, but we have to respect every decision by the player, anyway, I don’t know his future. I spoke to him to try to understand his will but, I repeat, we must have a great respect for every decision a player can take. His contract expires in June.
Wolves manager Lambert was playing in Borussia Dortmund when they beat Juventus, Antonio Conte’s team, in 1997 Champions League final, even if the Blues coach didn’t play because he was recovering from a knee injury:
“I remember that game very well, it was one of the three finals I lost: they were underdogs but they won very well, Lambert was playing for them and he was a great midfielder. I don’t think the result would have been different if I played, they played a really good game and had many great players, some of them ex Juventus players like Kholer, Paulo Sousa, Moller.
“And no, there is no revenge[in tomorrow’s game], I wish for him the best, after this game, of course, tomorrow it’s an important game for us, for Wolves. For me it would be a great pleasure to shake his hand.
Conte also revealed he will play some reserves’s in tomorrow’s clash:
“FA Cup would be a good opportunity to see some players that didn’t play so much, but we want and must go to the next round, for the club, for the fans and the team.
Chelsea U21 progressed in the Youth Cup during the week and when asked abou the great job that has being done at the Blues academy, Conte said:
“The academy is doing a great job in these years, we got players like Chalobah, Ake, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ola Aina, it’s important to have this link betweenfirst team and academy and to exploit their good job.
“These players stay with me, with the first team, because they deserve it, not because I want to give them a gift.
Conte reveales that Charly Musonda is not selected for tomorrow’s game and explained why:
“Musonda is not in the squad for tomorrow, he is working very well, very hard in the training sessions but he is having supplementary work with a fitness coach, probably he will be with us in the next games, if he deserves to stay with us.
The Italia manager also explained the importance of a football coach mental job:
“Every manager has to do a mental job on his squad, not justo n th e physical, technical and tactical aspect. It’s important to work on the mentality, during the game, during training sessions, it’s an important aspect of our job.”