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Chelsea are in concern for the fitness of two of their most important players ahead of Crystal Palace clash this weekend.

Blues stars Alvaro Morata and N’Golo Kante both suffered a hamstring injury in the last days and still is not sure if they will be able to recover before the Eagles derby.

Morata posted some photos and videos on social media showing he was in high spirit and determined to recover on time for Premier League restart, but he still remains a doubt.

Kante’s conditions have to be still evaluated by Chelsea medical staff, so the extension of his injury is not known yet.

The absence of these two key players would be a major blow for Antonio Conte and the Blues, who are chasing Manchsester United and Manchester City in Premier League title race, with the two teams topping the table with a six points advantage.

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Italy's head coach Antonio Conte with midfielder Andrea Pirlo during the training section at Renzo Barbera stadium in Palermo, Sicily island, Italy, 09 October 2014. Italy and Azerbaijan will play the Uefa Euro 2016 qualifying soccer match in Palermo on 10 October 2014. A

After announcing his retirement from played football Andrea Pirlo is considering some options about his future.

Speaking to Italian outlet La Gazzetta dello Sport, the current New York City FC star didn’t rule out the idea to become Antonio Conte‘s assistant:

“My future, I don’t know yet. I will return to Italy in December,” the Italian football legend claimed.

“An assistant to Conte? People are saying that. I have my ideas but I need time to decide.”

Conte and Pirlo already worked together at Juventus and in the Italian national team.

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Italy's head coach Antonio Conte with midfielder Andrea Pirlo during the training section at Renzo Barbera stadium in Palermo, Sicily island, Italy, 09 October 2014. Italy and Azerbaijan will play the Uefa Euro 2016 qualifying soccer match in Palermo on 10 October 2014. A

Italian football legend Andrea Pirlo, who this morning announced he will retire from football when his New York City contract expires in December, learnt a lot under current Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, who worked with him at Juventus and the Italian national team.

Speaking during an exclusive interview for Italian outlet Gazzetta dello Sport, the former Inter, Juventus and Milan midfielder claimed:

“His attention to detail is impressive,” he told about the Blues boss.

“He also manages to give you convincing explanations about things.

“One of his 20-minute video sessions is worth three days on the training ground”

“You immediately understand what it is you have to do.”

Speaking about Conte’s first season at Juventus, who ended with a title for the Bianconeri after ten years, Pirlo said:

“Over the year he improved, with his desire to win and doing everything to the best of his ability.

“He is one of the best, absolutely.”

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Reports claim Antonio Conte was furious with Chelsea board after failing to sign Fernando Llorente on transfer market deadline day because of a derisory bid to Swansea.

In fact, it seems the Blues directors only offered £ 5m to secure the Spanish striker services, but the Swans rejected the bid and preferred to sell Llorente to Spurs, who offered £ 11.5m.

Conte was really keen to sign the 32-year-old and it’s believed he was really upset after the deal was called off.

Llorente could have been a precious substitute of Alvaro Morata, who picked up a hamstring injury against Manchester City and will probably be out for the rest of the month.

 

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Former Juventus director Luciano Moggi – the man behind the big Italian football scandal Calciopoli, who was even banned to work in the football business for the rest of his life – claims Chelsea boss Antonio Conte would be perfect to replace Vincenzo Montella at AC Milan.

The Rossoneri have endured a poor start to the domestic campaign with three defeats in the first seven league game, they are currently sitting 7th in the Serie A table despite investing almost £ 200m in last summer transfer market.

Conte has been linked with a return to Italy despite winning the Premier League title in his first season with Chelsea and Moggi has backed the ex-Juve boss to be the perfect fit for the role at Milan:

Conte wants to return to Italy and Milan can be the ideal club for him,” Moggi told Tuttojuve.com

“If he were to win something with Chelsea this season too, his departure could well be possible.”

 

 

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Former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti was sacked by Bayern Munich last week: the Italian coach didn’t meet the club expectations for the beginning of this season and ex Bavarian manager Jupp Heynckes, who won the treble with the German side in 2013, was appointed to take of the team until the end of the season.

Speaking about his experience in Germany and about his future Ancelotti revealed in which country he’s not keen to coach next:

Bayern Munich belong to the past. Sometimes it can happen to be sacked, there is nothing to be sorry for. I’ve always respected every player I’ve coached. As a manager I have to play 11 players and bench seven of them. It is up to the player and to the club to accept the manager’s decision.”

“I don’t know if I will return to Serie A or try another experience abroad. For sure I am not going to train in China.”

AC Milan boss Vincenzo Montella has recently – jokingly – revealed that Ancelotti can now become his assistant. Here’s how Ancelotti replied: “He could my assistant and vice-versa. We could coach one game each, we only have to find a team that will allow us to do it.”

Montella is on the brink of being sacked after 3 defeats in the first 7 Serie A games of the season, and next game will be the derby against Inter on Sunday 15, when the Italian championship will restart after international break.

Ancelotti was the first name the media mentioned as a possible Montella replacement, but the former Blues boss claimed he has no intention to coach again during the current season:

“I will remain on holiday for the next ten months, I don’t want to take any other job before June. I respect Montella, Di Francesco and Ventura, I hope they will win all the games until the end of the season. I still want to coach club teams not national teams.”

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Hinting to a Chelsea return in the next months, former Blues player Oscar explained why he had to leave Stamford Bridge last January, claiming that current Italian boss Antonio Conte was among the reasons of his exit after almost five seasons in West London.

Oscar left in the last winter transfer window in a £ 52m move to Shanghai SIPG, where he’s earning £ 400,000 per week, but he’s starting to regret his choice now

“Due to the proposal I had and the situation that was happening to me at the club,” the Brazilian attacking midfielder explained.

“I began the season playing every game as a starter.

“The first eight games I played very well and then I had a League Cup game that I left and the team lost and everything changed.

“Then Antonio Conte changed the team’s way of playing in a 3-4-3 and I did not play anymore.

“I did not have a position to play because I’m a more offensive midfielder and so I decided to leave.”

But Oscar admitted he is open to the idea of one day returning to Stamford Bridge and the Premier League.

“I left the doors open. I would go back. I’m still young, I’m 26.

“Who knows in two, three years to return to the Premier League… I would be very happy. 

“And preferably for Chelsea, who opened the doors for me to return.”

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An important update while waiting for Crystal Palace v Chelsea clash on 14 October: the Eagles will probably be able to select one of their stars, Wilfred Zaha, for the clash against the Blues.

Zaha has not featured since the opening day of the season, a 3-0 home defeat by Huddersfield that he departed wearing a brace on his right knee.

Palace had one of the worst start in Premier League history, with 0 points and 0 goals scored in 7 games: manager Frank de Boer was sacked after only four games to be replaced by former England coach Roy Hodgson, but he couldn’t rise the Eagles form in the last three matches.

This is the main reason why Palace will be ready to give everything against Chelsea in the next fixture derby.

Zaha’s recovery from his knee injury, proved by a video the forward himself uploaded on his social media accounts, can be an additional boost for the clash against the Blues, with the striker set to be fully fit after joining the rest of the squad in training in these days of international break.

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New Chelsea signing Davide Zappacosta claims he wants to continue Italian legacy at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues can count several Italian managers and players in their recent history and most of them ( Zola, Vialli, Ancelotti, Di Matteo, Conte etc.) were successful.

The former Torino full-back states he wants to follow the footsteps of his compratiots:

“I’ve noticed there is this long tradition [of Italian players at Chelsea],” Zappacosta said in an interview for Chelsea’s matchday programme ahead of the game with Manchester City on Saturday.

“I just hope that, like my predecessors from Italy, I can make my mark at Chelsea and win some trophies. That would be a dream come true for me.”

“I am convinced I am well suited to the style of football in England, probably even more so than Italian football.

“There is more space because the intensity is higher and the game is much quicker, so I can look to exploit that.”

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Chelsea boss Antonio Conte admitted his team will struggle to retain the Premier League title this year.

Having fell down to 4th position in the table with 13 points,  behind leading duo Manchester City and Manchester United after Saturday’s defeat against Pep Guardiola‘s side, the Italian manager claimed he had an easier job when managing Juventus to hold the title in Serie A:

“It is very difficult for every team in this league. To defend, it is very difficult to win two titles in a row.

”We won the title with Juventus and I was expecting a really strong challenge from AC Milan, but instead they sold Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva to Paris St Germain, so they became weaker. It wasn’t simple second time, but it was easier.

“Here, from last season to this season, you have big teams and now they are bigger… And now after I think a great transfer market, they have improved a lot. It’s not simple to play this league.”

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