Chelsea boss Antonio Conte revealed that the last one wasn’t an easy week for the Blues, that couldn’t have a full squad available for the derby against Crystal Palace tomorrow:
“We got two-three situations that we have to value tomorrow. This week wasn’t easy to work, with the international break, some players came back with some problems, I have two-three situations to value.
“I think is important to check the situation with these players, John [Terry] is good, he trained all the week, for some others is important to value the situation.”
About rumours of Eden Hazard moving to Real Madrid, he said:
“I repeat the same thing, now it’s important to be focused on the present, we don’t have to look too far forward, Eden is our player, we aee happy with him, he’s happy with us, I don’t see problems about him.
“I think that this is a part of our game, that other people report these rumours to influence player’s minds, but I think we have experience, also my players got experience, it’s logical in this part of the season rumours about our players start, I am very happy because it means we are doing a great job and my players are doing very well.
“I don’t see any problem about our players, we all know we are in a great club with great ambition, there is a great will to do great things in the future, don’t forget there are some games to play, we hope to finish the season with great success for us.
“I think it’s positive, when another top team wants your players it means you are doing a very good job, but I repeat, I think that now we are already in a great club, with great ambition, they want to do something important, for the present and the future, I think we just started our path.”
About the title race and common opinion that Chelsea will be champions, he stated:
“In my past I lived two different experiences, one positive and another one negative, we need 21 points to be champions, tomorrow we will play a very tough game for us, it’s not easy [to play]after international break, we had a lot of problems this week, tomorrow it will be a very difficult game for us, for many reasons. Palace will a game of fundamental importance for us.
“Football is strange, it’s full of surprise, in my experience as a footballer I won a lot but I think I lost more, for this reason I want to keep our feet on the ground, also because in this part of the season there are many difficulties to overcome the problems. I think we deserve to win, but for sure our opponents don’t want to accept that Chelsea are champions, I think it’s important to get three points tomorrow.”
About Eden Hazard’s form, Conte said:
“I don’t think it’s important to talk about him, it’s important to speak about this game, that is crucial, he missed last game with Stoke and we have to check his form, we hope he’s in shape tomorrow, so he can play great football. I’m confident not only he will play, but he will play really good.”
About John Terry’s future, the Chelsea manager said:
“I think the club is working very well to solve many situations we have to face, I like to talk about John Terry for this season because he’s helping me a lot, he’s doing a great job, in and out the pitch.
“I think John knows my thought about him and I think the most important thing is that him knows my thought.”
Conte was asked an opinion about Crystal Palace boss Sam Allardyce:
“I met him in my travel in England [when he was Italy’s coach] and I stayed with him two days in West Ham training ground. I think he’s a top coach, for sure it’s a pity he was sacked from the national team after only one game, I know how is that, it’s a great feeling. For sure it will be good for me to meet him before and after the game tomorrow.”
Finally, an opinion on Crystal Palace:
“I remember very well the game against Crystal Palace back in December, I think we deserved to win but we suffered. They got really good players, like Benteke, Zaha, Townsend, Cabaye...a lot of great players. I don’t know why they are in this position, it’s very strange, but it can happen, last season happened to Chelsea, for example.
“We have to pay great attention, in the last three games they won and in the last three games they are sixth, so we have to pay attention, we are coming from international break and we got a lot of problems this week.”
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte was offered Barcelona star Neymar by Blues’ owner Roman Abramovich, according to Italian publication Tuttosport.
The former Juventus boss reportedly rejected the offer as he could quit west London for a return to his homeland at the end of the season.
It is understood new owners of Inter Milan are lining up a £13milion-per-season bid to persuade Conte.
Anyway, the current Chelsea boss could sign a new deal despite exit rumors, according to several reports in England.
Thibaut Courtois claimed he has no intention to leave Chelsea: the Belgian goalkeeper was often linked to Real Madrid but speaking to Spanish radio station Cadena Ser he stated he wants to stay at Stamford Bridge:
“I have two more years of contract left,” Courtois said.
“In London everything is going well for me and I am happy. At the moment we have not talked about a renewal. Now we are focused on winning the league, even though we have a ten-point advantage.
“Both the club and the coach want to keep calm now and not think about renewals.”
His current deal runs out in 2019 and he admits he can’t see himself moving to Spain anytime soon.
“We will see at the end of the season whether they offer me something, but at the moment there is no offer.
“Would I like to be offered a new deal? Sure.”
John Terry has not made a Premier League start since September and he will be out of contract this summer. However Gary Cahill insists the Blues legend is the one and only Chelsea captain and he is irreplaceable in that role.
“I would never try to fill John Terry’s boots. You can never fill that position”. – Cahill said – “When I took over as captain this season, either through him not being picked or not being available, it was a privilege to do that. Firstly, I have learned from how he manages himself, how he plays and how he does things. But secondly, I never thought for one minute, or will ever think, that I’m replacing him. He is right at the top and whoever comes in after him is never going to achieve what he’s done at the club”.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte was still not clear about his future: the Italian boss signed a three-year-contract with the Blues one year ago, that means the deal will run until 2019.
Anyway, last week speculations were claiming Conte and his entourage were approached by Inter, that offered the ex Juventus coach a big deal for the next seasons, a thing that the Blues boss dismissed during a press conference one week ago.
Surprisingly, Conte was not clear when asked about his future today, ahead of an important clash like the FA Cup one against Manchester United:
“I am the first one to be be focused on the present, when the moment will arrive I will speak with the club,” the Italian claimed.
“It’s important to be focused on the present. I don’t think anyone spoke with the club.”
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.
Victor Moses signed a new contract with Chelsea last Wednesday and if the Nigerian could put the pen on a new deal with the Blues a big part of the merit is for Antonio Conte, who let him improve as a player and making him become one of Chelsea crucial footballers for this season.
Speaking about this, Conte commented:
“First of all it’s right to say that Moses deserved a new contract.
“He’s a really good guy, a great player, with good technique and will to fight.
I was very clear to him already in the pre-season, telling to him that I wanted him to stay here all season, I am pleased for him, he deserved this.”
Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo explained why Blues winger Victor Moses deserved a new deal, that was signed and announced today:
“We are extremely pleased Victor has chosen to extend his contract with us,” Emenalo said to Chelsea official website.
“He is enjoying an excellent season and, under Antonio’s leadership, has proved to be an important member of the squad.
“This new contract is testament to Victor’s hard work and dedication to succeed at Chelsea and we believe he will be a big part of our future success.”
In total, Moses has made 72 appearances for the Blues, scoring 14 goals.
19 year-old striker Dominic Solanke can leave Chelsea at the end of this season, during the summer transfer window.
The player who has not played for Chelsea first team yet, has also failed to agree terms on a new deal with The Blues: Solanke asks for £ 50,000 per week, which is considered too much by Chelsea board.
Manager Antonio Conte has tried to reach a compromise with Solanke but his efforts has been useless till now:
“I don’t know his future” - Conte said during the press conference held today - 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.”
So, while the young striker is not sure to stay at Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool are reportedly keeping an eye on him, willing to sign him during the summer tranfer window.
According to rumours the Reds are leading the race with Arsene Wenger also interested in the former Vitesse forward.