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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte was pretty relaxed when asked to give a comment on 2017/18 campaign, which looks a fiasco if compared with last season’s Premier League title.

The Italian told journalists:

“I always try to protect my work and I am very pleased of my job. I worked harder and better than last season. Obviously I like to win trophies and being winner but at the same time – even if you work very hard trying to give the 120%,  miracles do not always happen. Sometimes it happens, sometimes not. And taking decisions about future is not my task”.

When asked if he will go o holiday following the FA Cup Final, Conte assessed: 

“Yes, the club told us we could go home after the FA Cup Final. I did not change my commitment for the club, which has been always the same. I don’t know if something has changed: last season we were heroes for Chelsea’s fans. And now has my status changed? I do not know. However, in my soul and in my heart I am an hero, because I gave always my 120%. In every season you must divide responsibilities with club, manager and players: last season we were heroes, this season I don’t know. It does not care for me”.

Conte: “FA Cup final is a great achievement and Chelsea will be focused”

Royal Wedding in London? No, thanks.

“I hope my family will be more interested in the FA Cup final” said Conte. “I am sure of this also because they know the importance of my job, my work. They’ve always backed me in every moment of my life”.

Will the FA Cup result be decisive to judge Antonio Conte’s work at Stamford Bridge? The Italian said:

“I repeat, other people have the task to judge my season and I am not the right person to tell you how the situation is expected to be going. I must be honest, I am not interested. I am only focused on my job”. 

If you don’t win a trophy, does it mean you did not work very well? It’s right to separate the two aspects, because if you don’t win it does not always mean you did not do a good job. In Italy [Juventus], Germany [Bayern Munich] and France [PSG] is there only one team who worked well?”

About last year’s FA Cup final against Arsenal:

“Last season has been a wonderful season, I think we did a fantastic work with the players and I think last season we reached an important success. If you are winning and you are going with normal velocity, you do not risk to break your engine. It does not happen if you are running too fast. Last season we won and we divided this big achievement with players and the club, this season we finished 5th in the table and we still have to play an FA Cup final, then we’ll have to divide again”.

“I do not like to speak about myself, we are a team and we win and lose together. If I am frustrated all my players feel in the same way. Obviously, I like to win trophies and being winner, but when you try to do everything you can’t be satisfied every time. I did not change the commitment to the club”.

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Inter Milan lifted a special trophy following a determined and clinical clash in a friendly game in memory of Ray Wilkins. An important event to raise money for both Chelsea CFC Foundation and Crohn’s & Colitis UK, the charity nominated by the Wilkins family.

WARM WELCOME – The whole crowd paid tribute to  Wilkins’ family with a standing-ovation. Former Siena and Genoa midfielder Kharja hit the bar for the first attempt of the game at Stamford Bridge, in front of 28.155 fans.

A warm welcome also for Blues‘ ex-striker Hernan Crespo, who spoke after the game: “I hope tomorrow Chelsea can win the FA Cup Final, of course it will be a great match, a face to face between [Jose] Mourinho and [Antonio] Conte and Mourinho against his past. I think something can change if Chelsea wins, it depends on tomorrow’s result”.

INTER FOREVER STARTING XI – Toldo, Chivu, Materazzi, Samuel, Colonnese, Zanetti, Djorkaeff,, Kharja, Cambiasso, Karagounis, Crespo

CHELSEA LEGENDS STARTING XI – Cudicini, Le Saux, Lebœuf, Desailly, Sinclair, Wise, Petrescu, Di Matteo, Morris, Zola, Flo

Roberto Di Matteo put the Blues in front with a low strike and some’ great saves from Cudicini were crucial to keep the clean sheet. Marco Materazzi‘s header and David Suazo’s tap from a close range secured a 1-2 score at half-time.

MIXED ZONE – Di Matteo on FA Cup Final: “I will support Chelsea tomorrow, it will be a massive game between two teams with great history in a great stadium as Wembley. I hope Chelsea can win, of course”. More from Di Matteo on Antonio Conte: “I repeat it would be great if Conte could stay at Chelsea and Chelsea should continue with Antonio Conte in charge. I think he gave balance to the squad and the club”. 

Sebastien Frey‘s outstanding clearance denied a clear goal from Chelsea’s Eidur Gudjohnsen, then a brilliant finish of Karagounis raised up the score a few minutes after Casiraghi had a further huge chance to score. The Inter Legends’ 41-year-old scored again with 2 minutes left to go and sealed a 1-4 win. Chelsea crowned Carlo Cudicini as their Man of the Match, but the hosts were the team to lift the trophy at Stamford Bridge. Lebœuf limped off the pitch with minor injury.

 

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Chelsea legend Frank Lampard has his say ahead of tomorrow’s Fa Cup final at Wembley.

Many believe Paul Pogba can make the difference in favour of Manchester United, but the former Blues’ midfielder thinks in a different way.  “I don’t know what Pogba is. He makes bad decisions but then does fantastic things which must wreck Jose’s head”. Lampard said as reported by The Mirror. “Pogba is naturally more talented than I was, he would run all over me and has better feet, but there’s no point dribbling in your own half. All that ‘flick and roll of the studs’, I’m not an advocate of that. A lot of young players see it on YouTube and think it’s amazing but I don’t like it.”

So, according to Frank Lampard is another player who can shine tomorrow at Wembley. “If the right Eden Hazard turns up he can be the match-winner.” the Blues legend said.

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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte spoke out in Cobham this afternoon, following his side’s training session ahead of FA Cup final. The Italian pointed out some aspects will be crucial to face Manchester United at Wembley on Saturday after switching off his mobile phone…just in case

“I do not like to speak about me but I like to speak about us, about our season together. About this season: we have a chance to win a trophy and it will be a great achievement for the club and for our fans. In my career I played other cup finals, in Italy during my first season at Juventus and also last season we lost against Arsenal: we win and we lose all together. I remember last cup final against Arsenal, in which the first goal was not good. Then we were able to comeback and finish the game with 10 men after Moses was sent-off. It was a pity and a strange final. We had the possibility to clinch the Double last season, this season we have another chance and we want to fight, to win because we deserved this achievement”.

“For sure tomorrow I will shake Jose Mourinho‘s hand. I don’t want to provide you the starting XI, tomorrow we will see also if Caballero starts in goal. We only have Emerson Palmieri out. No more news”.

My last game at Chelsea? For sure I can say this will be my last match in this season. I have a contract and I am committed to the club. We must be focused on tomorrow’s game, which is a very difficult game and we want to end up the season with a trophy. For players, the manager and our fans: we are focused on our target and we want to win this game”. 

“We need to be focused because we have an important game to play. Don’t forget we are talking about the oldest trophy in the world, the FA Cup. This is a final, when you play a final the most important thing is to win: it will be a tactical game, but I don’t know what kind of game we will see. Having a chance to play for the second time in a row a final at Wembley, I think this is a great achievement. The most important thing is to lift the trophy tomorrow night. I can tell you this season we worked really hard, even harder than last season, I am sure of this and is enough for myself”.

Manchester United have the possibility to pick many important player, I don’t know which will be Mourinho’s decision for tomorrow but if Lukaku misses the game there will be other good players to replace him. I won’t change my plan only for one player, I prepare every game against the whole team. There’s always a difference if you are manager or a player in a Final. A manager has great responsibilities and have to think about all, a player knows there’s a staff around him: I know the situation. I will sleep in the normal way. I do not sleep a lot in general, however I’ll sleep in the best way for the team”.

More to follow tomorrow…

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England manager Gareth Southgate revealed Chelsea captain Gary Cahill didn’t answer the phone when he called him and he has to find a different way to tell him he has been included in the list of 23 players who will take part to Russia 2018 World Cup.

He didn’t pick up at first”, Southgate told Metro“and then I left him a message saying, “Look, I don’t only call when it’s bad news” I had left him out of the squad in March and I had a little bet with myself that if I called he wouldn’t pick up”.

However, Southgate wanted to give Cahill the good news as he believes the Blues defender can be useful during England’s campaign in Russia this summer: “He looks happier in himself and happier in his game”, the England boss went on, “so that was nice to be able to be at least let him know that the reason for the call was a good one”. 

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Two more Blues involved in the World Cup as France head-coach Didier Deschamps has included both striker Olivier Giroud and Chelsea’s Player of the Year N’Golo Kante in the 23-man squad which will travel to Russia next month.

Moreover, Chelsea loanee Kurt Zouma has been selected in France’s stand-by list alongside with Ben Yedder, Coman, Costil, Debuchy, Digne, Lacazette, Martial, Rabiot, Sakho and Sissoko.

 

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Chelsea youngster Charly Musonda has ended his loan-spell at Celtic and he is back at Stamford Bridge.

The talented midfielder joined the Scottish Champions during last January transfer window as the two clubs agreed an 18-month deal for Musonda’s loan.

However, the Blues youngster didn’t have many chances to play as explained by Celtic’s manager Brendan Rodgers: “He was a joy to work with, a really good boy”, Rodgers said. “wanted to learn and he’s now at an age where he needs to play week in, week out, and, unfortunately, I couldn’t promise him that.”

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Maurizio Sarri will stay at Napoli, according to Corriere dello Sport this morning.

It is understood the Italian manager recently received an offer from Chelsea, with Antonio Conte’s future at Stamford Bridge still unclear.

However Napoli’s president Aurelio De Laurentiis was adamant that Maurizio Sarri could extend his contract despite rumors regarding his managerial role at the Serie A side, who went close to winning the Scudetto this season as well.

Sarri is reportedly set to earn a fee in the region of €4m-per-year in a deal which will run until June 2021. An official statement is expected to be forthcoming.

 

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Drew Spence and Jonna Anderson were the goalscorers in Chelsea Ladies’ victory over Bristol City in the Super League final last night.

The Blues sealed the Double following their FA Cup win at Wembley earlier this month.

Manager Emma Hayes, who’s pregnant with twins, was part of the celebrations via FaceTime, as players confirmed: “We called her as soon as we could and she was in bed, very excited. For Emma to have led this team to a Double while pregnant says everything about her character. It is a great message to women around the world, in whatever they are doing, that women can do it.”

 

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Atletico Madrid were dominant in the UEFA Europa League 2017/18 final against Olympique Marseille in Lyon tonight. A defensive mistake after 21′ was exploited by Antoine Griezmann, who doubled earlier in the second half following a positive start from the Ligue One giants.

Captain Gabi sealed a final 0-3 for Diego Pablo Simeone’s men, who reached both Inter Milan and Juventus  with 3 titles in their history. Sevilla remain top of the table with 5 titles.

Former West Ham United striker Dimitri Payet, who was a doubt ahead of the game, limped off the pitch in tears just after Griezmann’s opener as he suffered a knee injury. On the other hand, Fernando Torres came off the bench with 2′ left to go to celebrate his final trophy of career.

REMINDER – Chelsea won the Europa League in 2013 as they beat Benfica in Amsterdam under Rafa Benitez’s management. A late goal from Branislav Ivanovic won the Europa League for the Blues, who will be playing in the same competition next season.

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