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Easter

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Mourinho and Diego Costa © Francesca Ceciarini

Chelsea star Diego Costa opens up about his former manager José Mourinho.

The Portuguese coach was the one who brought Costa to Stamford Bridge in summer 2014, signing him from Atletico Madrid.

The first season together for them was fantastic, as Chelsea won the Premier League title dominating the championship from the first to the last game, with Diego scoring 20 goals in 37 matches all over the campaign.

Things fell out last year, where the Blues has their worst season start in their recent history and Mourinho was sacked, with the Spaniard accused to be one of the players that let him down:

“In all honesty I always tell people that I am grateful to Mourinho because he helped me a lot,” Costa said ahead of the game at Old Trafford against Jose’s current team, Manchester United.

“As a player when you want to improve you always look for the best coach and Mourinho is one of the best.

“I wanted to come to Chelsea because of Mourinho. When I considered Chelsea I thought about the fact that Mourinho was here.

“He is a coach that demands a lot from his players, he wants the maximum.

“He helped me a lot and then what happened is that the following season didn’t go well, these things that happen, but the truth is that Mourinho helped me a lot to improve as a player.”

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Chelsea boss Antonio Conte claims Old Trafford clash against Manchester United is a game like another one in this title race, where the Blues could get crucial three points.

First of all, the Italian manager revealed he’s a couple of injury concerns:

“I’ve got no injury for this game, just I couple of situations we must value, of course I cannot say which ones.”

Conte was asked what does he think about Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante making the shortlist for PFA Player of the Year award:

“It’s great for them to be in the shortlist for the best player of the year, it’s important for them but the most important thing for the team, it means we did a good job.°

Asked which of the two Chelsea players desevers to win the award more, he replied:

“I don’t like to make a choice with my players, I think it’s not fair, they are having a good season, all my players are having a great season and they deserve the best. I’m pleased because it’s a fight among my players, I want to see who is the winner.

Conte also recalled the only time he visited the Theathre of Dreams against Manchester United ( he played also a Champions League final there with Juventus, against AC Milan, with the Rossoneri winning at the penalties)  in 1999 when he played a Champions League semifinal with Juventus, scoring also the goal that gave his team the temporary lead:

“I played a semifinal at Old Trafford, I scored and then Ryan Giggs equalised at last, then we lost 3-2 in Turin and they won the Champions League.

Speaking about Sunday’s clash, he said:

“I think this game is like another game, the most important thing for us is the 3 points, we face a really strong team, they are very good technically, we have to pay great attention. I think both United and Chelsea will put both their best team to try to win the game.”

Asked if he would steal any player from Man United squad, he said:

“I think my players are the best in the world, they got a lot of good players, top players°

Red Devils star Zlatan Ibrahimvoic claimed he’s like Benjamin Button, meaning he’s getting better  while growing older and Conte said the Swedish striker was right:

“I agree, I’ve always told this, he’s in the top of his form, his career. He plays for the team, it’s always good to have this kind of players, he plays a lot for the team, for me he’s one of best players in the world.

On rumours about Lukaku returning to Chelsea next summer, with Didier Drogba claiming the Belgian forward wants to prove himself successful at Stamford Bridge, he replied:

“It’s not the correct time to speak about this, I have great respect for Didier because he’s a legend for Chelsea, I can’t talk about this because we always need to respect the tema, the club the players.

It seemed Eden Hazard was targeted by Manchester United players in the FA Cup quarter final at Stamford Bridge one month ago, asked he will prepare something special to prevent this he said:

“It’s very difficult to prepare this kind of situation, we prepare the game on the tactical aspect, we are trying to find the best solution, the situation can be very tough for both teams. I haven’t prepared nothing.

Manchester United played last night in Bruxelles in Europa League quarter finals against Anderlecht and Conte was asked if this could be an advantage for Chelsea:

“In this part of the season is very difficult to understand when ti’s the right moment to play with one team or another.

Any plan on how to stop Ibrahimovic?

“We must have a good defensive organisation, when he attacks the ball he’s very dangerous, and also when he receives the ball, my players must play great attention and concentration to stop him.

Any unsettled conflict with Mourinho?

“It’s a football match, not me against him, we both want to try to win, it’s normal there are conflicts during the game, but it’s just sport thing, just game conflicts.

It’s common opinion that not being involved in European competitions during this season was a big advantage for Chelsea:

“I’ve been hearing this story since I was Juventus coach in my fist season, but Liverpool are in our same situation, for sure we have more time to work with the team, it’s important because it’s my first season here, but if you think this is the only reason why we’re in the top of the table, this si a great mistake. I prefer to play Champions League.

After his last visit to Stamford Bridge José Mourinho stated that until someone will win four Premier League titles he will still be the N.1 manager in Chelsea history:

“Which was my reaction to this statement of his? Nothing. He won a lot with this team, this club have always showed him great respect for his past, I said the same before and this doesn’t change, I have a great respect for him.

“The game at Old Trafford is important for us because we would get 3 points that are really important in the title race, after this game we have other 18 points to get, for us it will be very important.

AC Milan was sold to Chinese investors yesterday and an Italian journalist asked a comment about this:

“It’s very difficult to reply this question because you know better than me that Berlusconi was a great owner for Milan, they won a lot in Italy, Europe and in the world, another era is starting with this group, they paid a lot to buy Milan, so I hope they will do good.

And when asked about Inter kinks, again he replied:

“Rumours about Inter are just rumours, they are old.”

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Marcos Alonso fears Chelsea will face a very tough match at Old Trafford this Sunday.

Manchester United will be hungry for “revenge” after the 4-0 humilation back in October and the FA Cup’s elimination one month ago at Stamford Bridge:

“It will be tougher this time around. They are one of the best teams in England, no doubt. It will be a very hard game, even more so after losing twice against us.

“They will give even more to try and beat us. We will have to do the same or more than before to get another win.

The Red Devils won’t be fresh as Chelsea will be, since they are playing Europa League in Belgium tonight, but José Mourinho can rotate his players in the two games:

“They’re playing at Anderlecht tonight but they have a big squad, full of good players.

“They will be hard to beat, no matter who they pick or the fact they’re playing in the Europa League just three days before. We will have to be ready.”

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Former Blues manager José Mourinho claimed he will be killed if he will play his second Manchester United team against Chelsea next Sunday.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s clash against Anderlecht in Europa League quarter finals, the Red Devils boss was asked if he got any intention to play the reserves against Antonio Conte’s side in Easter Sunday’s clash, so to prioritise Europa League, that is the only seasonal target Man United has left ( besides qualifying for Champions League through Premier League):

“I think if we play against Chelsea with the second team you will kill me,” Mourinho said at his press conference.

“The country, the football country, will kill me because when mathematically it’s possible there’s no reason not to try.

“If in the certain moment of the season we have no chances to get the top four and we’re still in the Europa League then there’s a reason that nobody can deny, nobody can criticise because then if we only have the Europa League we have to focus on the league.

“In one week we play Tottenham, Southampton, Palace and then the Europa League final then every one needs to accept I’ll focus on Europa League.”

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Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney could miss Chelsea clash next Sunday due to his recent ankle injury.

The English striker has been struggling to recover since he picked up this issue one month ago, right before FA Cup quarter finals game with the Blues at Stamford Bridge.

Rooney didn’t travel to Bruxelles, where United are facing Anderlecht in Europa League quarter finals tomorrow night, and Red Devils manager José Mourinho revealed he’s a serious doubt for Easter afternoon’s match at Old Trafford:

“He’s not happy with his condition, he’s trying to work with the team, which he does, but he’s not confident, not happy,” Mourinho said on Wednesday.

“He has a bad feeling with his ankle and is not ready to play. Let’s see for the weekend or the next game. We don’t have many players fit but for tomorrow? No.”

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