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New Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola spent nice words for Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte in the day of his first official press conference for the Etihad side.

“Conte is a master tactician,” the Spaniard claimed.

“It’s a very good signing. It’s going to be very interesting competing against him.”

“It’s great that so many top managers are here,” he added speaking about the next Premier League.

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New Manchester United boss, Jose Mourinho, told MUTV about his first impressions at Old Trafford. He insists that he has worked with some good clubs, but not one of them shares the same passion with the Red Devils.

He claims that everyone involved with the club is proud to be there and talk about their achievements.

“I felt immediately that the people here love the club. Previously I was lucky enough to work at good clubs but I wouldn’t feel that passion. To be fair I found even great professionals at other clubs but they were fans of other clubs.

“At Man United you feel immediately there is a huge passion for the club. At the training ground you feel there are people there who are ready to work for you. They are very proud to say the name and how many years they have been working in the club.

“One lady tells me she has been here for 23 years and another tells me he has been here for 27 years. The club is made by these people. It is about the fans and these humble people who work for the club.”

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Belgium crashed out of Euro 2016 last night with a surprising 3-1 loss to Wales.

Despite obvious disappointment, Chelsea forward Eden Hazard is trying to stay positive and look to future success. He insists that the team is young enough to stay together for the next two years and compete for the World Cup in 2018.

He also talked about the good times they have had with Manager Marc Wilmots. He wanted to wish him the best for the future if he decided to step down as manager of the Belgian squad.

“We’re going to keep working with the aim of winning things in future.

“There’s a lot of pressure on him [Wilmots]. We have had him as a coach for several years. We have had some great moments with him, some super moments with him.

“Today we have had a disappointment, but I think he will have a think, he will decide later if he wants to continue with us and if not, then we will wish him luck for the future.”

 

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Chelsea and Belgium winger Eden Hazard picked up a thigh injury a few days ago in the game against Hungary in which they eased to victory 4-0.

Belgium will play Wales tomorrow night and Hazard is in doubt for the game, he hasn’t trained all week.

However, the Belgium manager Marc Wilmots insists that the medical staff are doing all they can and if he is fit, he can still play the game without any training.

“Eden is still feeling some discomfort in his thigh.

“I can’t really say how it’s going to go. The medical staff are doing their work and we’re waiting.

“Will Eden be able to play on Friday without having trained on Thursday? It’s possible.”

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According to Italian transfer market expert Gianluca Di Marzio Chelsea agreed terms to sign Belgian talent Michy Batshuayi.

The Olyimpique de Marseille striker, who was one of the protagonists along with Eden Hazard in Belgium win against Hungary, would move to Stamford Bridge for € 40m ( £ 33m).

This deal calls off the one for Real Madrid forward Alvaro Morata, that is considered too expensive by Chelsea directors with his £ 50m fee.

Batshuayi, 22, is the first signing of Chelsea new boss Antonio Conte.

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On 23 June 2008 Spain defeated Italy 4-2 on penalties to reach the UEFA Euro Semi-finals. They went on to win the tournament that year, for the first time since 1964. In 2012 Spain won the tournament again, becoming the first team in history to successfully defend the title.

In 2016 Spain’s run of European success came to an abrupt end after a decisive 2-0 defeat at the hands of a team that had described as ‘the worst Italian team in decades’ before the tournament began.

How can the ‘worst Italian team in decades’ defeat a decidedly strong and competitive Spain? Two words: Antonio Conte.

Antonio Conte

The incoming Chelsea boss has shown that good management and emphasis on team-play more often than not trumps a team of superstars. We saw it with Leicester City under Ranieri this year, we saw it with Iceland’s 2-1 defeat of England, and we are seeing it under Conte’s Italy.

Now, that’s not to say the current Italy squad are football minnows, like Iceland and Leicester, but the current line-up of the Azzurri is a shadow of the glory years of the 1990s and mid-2000s.

Italy's 2006 World Cup winning squad.
Italy’s 2006 World Cup winning squad.

Criticised for a lack of youngsters in the squad (Italy came into the tournament with an average age of 28), robbed of some talent through injury (Marco Verratti and Claudio Marchisio), and criticised for some selections (Federico Marchetti over Gianluigi Donnarumma), Conte’s Italy was largely written off by the media before the tournament started. Yet, they recently defeated the European Champions and head into a game against the World Champions, Germany, having conceded zero goals so-far this tournament.

Conte’s style has been instrumental in Italy’s success, and it’s something Chelsea fans should look forward too. There was a moment in the second half against Spain which showed exactly what Conte’s philosophy is as a manager. An Italy interception fell to the feet of Emanuele Giaccherini in Spain’s territory, but poor control sent the ball towards Conte. It was a small error, but Conte was visibly incensed at the missed opportunity. Throughout the tournament Conte has been vocal. So vocal in-fact he can often be heard on commentators microphones screaming in Italian (avanti seems to be his favourite word).  In short, Conte is intense. He expects his players to give their all on the pitch and expects nothing less than 100%.

UBut intensity alone doesn’t win you matches. Italy have been technically skilled and very, very well organised, especially in defence – a feature that has been synonymous with Chelsea in seasons past. The 3-5-2 system offers flexibility in defence and attack, however it does work the midfielders extremely hard. Spain struggled to break Italy down, but at the same time Italy never over-committed at the back. They were able to move from solid defensive play to threatening attacks in an instant.

Italy's 3-5-2 formation.
Italy’s 3-5-2 formation.

Italy also had a very clear game-plan from the get-go, unlike certain teams (cough…England). Recognising how much of a lynchpin Busquets is to the Spanish side’s fluency, it is clear Conte instructed Pelle and Eder to close him down at every opportunity, and that’s exactly what they did. Stifiling the Barcelona man’s passing ability and preventing Spanish attacks from gaining any momentum. Resting 8 of Italy’s players in last week’s match against the republic of Ireland also meant the Azzurri had enough gas in the tank to run Spain ragged for the full 90minutes.

In essence Conte has been the manager Italy needed for this tournament. Even if they go out to Germany in the quarter-finals, Conte has shown Italy can succeed even with the apparent decline in world-class talent.

Conte’s intensity, technical mind-set and well thought-out game plans are all reasons for Chelsea fans to get excited in a season where the Premier League will be saturated with world class managers.

For Conte, however, his focus is still with the Italy who face a very strong World Cup winning Germany this week.

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Ex Chelsea manager Andre Villas Boas has been targeted by AC Milan to replace first team coach Christian Brocchi, who asked to leave his job yesterday to be able to join Brescia, in the Italian Serie B, and that started to work at the club only in January, when former coach Sinisa Mihajlovic was sacked.

Milan are in a very delicate moment of their history: the financial situation is not good and the long time chairman, Silvio Berlusconi, has been looking for a group of new investors outside of Italy, especially in China, to sell the club but had no luck until now.

The Italian side, that won seven Champions League, also failed to qualify for any European competition in the last three years and the situation is very unstable.

Signing a young and valid manager like Villas Boas they would try to improve this delicate situation and it should a good chance for the Portuguese coach as well, after failing his first experience in a big international club like Chelsea and three years in the Russian championship with Zenit St Petersburg.

 

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Together next season with Chelsea but enemies next Monday at the euros: Blues midfielder Cesc Fabregas will face his next boss Antonio Conte in Spain v Italy in the Round of 16 at EURO 2016.

The Spanish playmaker spoke to La Gazzetta dello Sport about this special game:

“I met Conte briefly and he made a very good impression,” Fabregas claimed.

“He is a great Coach, a winner. He told me what he wants from me, what he wants to do at Chelsea and various other things that will remain private.

“I really want to start working with him. Now I hope he can get to work at Chelsea as soon as possible. Hopefully from Tuesday he can concentrate on his new job.”

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Speaking to Italian media Juventus’ chief executive Giuseppe Marotta confirmed that Real Madrid will buy back Alvaro Morata:

Real Madrid have informed us of their intention to exercise the right to buy back, we are just waiting for the documents next week”.

The Champions of Europe are not really keen to keep the Spanish striker in their squad: their intention is to buy him back for € 22m ( £ 18m) and then re-sell him in England, when he’s got a lot of clubs that targeted him.

Manchester United and Chelsea are the the two sides leading the race, with Mourinho hoping to sign him since he was the first coach who trusted Morata when he was in charge at Real Madrid and made him debut in the first team, giving him also a good playing time for a youngster.

But, as we already reported, Blues boss Antonio Conte is huge fan of the Spain international and has been holding talks with him in the last month almost every day to try to convince him to land to Stamford Bridge.

Real Madrid would probably ask a price around £ 60m to secure Morata’s services.

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New Chelsea boss Antonio Conte wants to keep Oscar at Stamford Bridge next season.

The Brazilian had a difficult last season and even withdrew himself from a match citing illness during the spring, before driving home, increasing speculations about a quick exit from the club.

Conte is, anyway, a fan of the Brazilian attacking midfielder: when he was in charge at Juventus Oscar was linked to the Bianconeri on several occasions.

His agent also confirmed that an unnamed Chinese club had made a huge offer for his services during the January transfer window but the player – that arrived at Chelsea in the summer of 2012- should stay at least another year.

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