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manchester city

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Chelsea boss Antonio Conte believes the Premier League is not decided yet, despite his side being 10 points clear of the two teams sitting in the second place, Arsenal and Spurs, who are at 50, with the Blues leading with 60.

Manchester City got one game in hand, tomorrow night at Bournemouth, and should they win it they could reduce the gap with the Blues to 8 points:

“There are 13 games before the end and if anybody thinks the league is finished I can tell you now it’s not,” Conte said after the draw at Burnley.

“There are six teams who can win the league and anything can happen until the end.

“We have to think only about ourselves, not to look at others. We want to do something important this season.”

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Liverpool striker Adam Lallana believes his team needs to use Chelsea as an example for their winning mentality:

“You can see they have a lot of experience and that they are used to winning,” Lallana is quoted as saying by the Liverpool Echo.

They know how to win games even when not at their best. You don’t have to always win by scoring five or six.

“Maybe that’s an area we need to improve on. We maybe need to realise how good we are at times. Milly [James Milner] is probably the only one in our group who has that type of experience because it only comes from winning silverware like he did at Manchester City.

“Myself and the other players haven’t won titles or loads of cups so we need to learn from him and listen to him because that type of experience is vital. We need to learn and get back to winning ways in the league as soon as possible.”

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Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo dismissed speculations on Diego Costa‘s return to the Spanish side.

When asked if the Blues striker could be back to Colchoneros next summer, he replied:

“He is at a great club.

“They say he is going to China, but I don’t see Chelsea letting him go,”added Cerezo.

The Spanish chairman was also asked if Manchester City star Sergio Agüero could join back after leaving the club in summer 2011, this is what he replied:

“If he had left in a normal and cordial manner then there would have been no problem, but I don’t know what happened to him.”

 

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Chelsea boss Antonio Conte analysed the current situation of his team and claims the title race is not over yet, even after the great win against Arsenal and even being 9 points clear of Spurs, who sit second in the table:

“If you compare this Chelsea with the team from last season then it’s normal that you’d end up this way.

“You can’t turn an ugly duckling into a swan in an instant.

“I’m not a coach who compromises and with my blind faith in the work we’re doing, and in my ideas, I’ve been able to forge straight ahead without worrying about anyone else.”

“I’m concerned about all five clubs pursuing us. I’m not just saying that out of superstition, I talk from experience, especially as a player.

“We won a lot but we also lost a lot. In my career we won a Champions League [with Juventus in 1996] but also lost three finals including a World Cup final, and that has made me hungry and very competitive.

“Today when they talk about Chelsea as having already won the title I say: ‘Not yet.’ We still have 14 games to go and plenty of work to do.

“There are no easy games in the Premier League, because this is a league where anything is possible.

“We ourselves are proof of that at Chelsea, as we were eight points behind the leaders after six games and now we are nine points ahead of second place.

“This forces us to be always wary and always careful.”

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Manchester City winger Kevin De Bruyne is still confident that his side can challenge and catch Chelsea in the title race.

“Football can go a little crazy sometimes, – De Bruyne said – Chelsea are far ahead but even if you lose three games and (we) win three games you are there. Three games is nothing”.

“We just have to do our thing and not look at what Chelsea and the others are doing. If we win our games we will have a good place and, hopefully, the best possible.”

When asked about their real chances to catch Chelsea, De Bruyne added: “I don’t know — we are going to try. In the Premier League you have to be there every week”.

“All the injured players are coming back which I am very happy about as we have a lot of games with the league and Champions League”.

“And we will need everyone. It will be very important to have series of wins to put pressure on the rest.”

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Speaking following his side’s 4-0 win against West Ham, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola insisted that Premier League title is in Chelsea‘s hands as Antonio Conte‘s side are currently leading the table with 56 points.

About the Italian manager Guardiola claimed: “He doesn’t have to be too worried because Chelsea are nine points ahead”,

“Only they can lose the Premier League” he ended.

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Chelsea will face Wolverhampton Wanderers in FA Cup Fifth Round.

These are the ties that will be played around the weekend of 18 February:

Burnley v Lincoln City

Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur

Blackburn Rovers v Manchester United

Sutton United v Arsenal

Middlesbrough v Oxford United

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea

Huddersfield Town v Manchester City

Millwall v Derby County or Leicester City

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Continuing our chat with ex Chelsea goalkeeper Marco Amelia we asked him about transfer market, that is closing his winter window tomorrow night, with his friend Asmir Begovic on the brink to leave the Blues after 18 months:

*If I were him, I would stay: it’s difficult to leave a team like Chelsea in a season like this, he can add some silverware to his personal trophy cabinet and I don’t think he will miss this chance, even if I understand that he would like to play more.”

Diego Costa allegedly received offers during this transfer window from a couple of Chinese clubs, this is what Amelia thinks about the Spaniard’s situation, since there are chances he can leave next summer:

“I hope Diego Costa can stay, my wish is that he will stay next summer. If he will leave I guess it´s easier for him to go back to Spain: probably he does´t like London very much and I cannot get how he could like China, so I don´t think he will go there. But it won´t be easy to leave for him, because now he´s a leader, he feels this leadership, he feels important, so if he moves it won´t be an easy choice for him, it´s more difficult to change in this moment.”

In his time at Chelsea Amelia had the chance to share the dressing room with a legend like John Terry, with whom he´s still friend, and has got only words of praise and respect for the Blues captain:

“What I liked more about Terry is that he is a TRUE captain, he arrives to the training ground before anyone else, sometimes I tried to arrive before him but I never succeed! He always beat me! He leads by example, he takes care of himself, he acts like a a real professional and shows to his team-mates that to reach certain levels you have to behave like that. This is the best example he can give to his team-mates and to the youngsters.”

And speaking about youngsters and academy talents, Amelia revealed us who is the one that most impressed him:

“Among Chelsea youngsters who impressed me more is Ruben Loftus-Cheek,” the Italian goalkeeper said.

“He´s got incredible physical and technical skills, he can adapt to play in more roles and yes, I agree with Conte, he can play as a number 9: of course he doesn’t have the moves of a proper striker, he has to learn them, he has to get more experience and maybe he´s not so fast as a modern number 9 has to be. I guess it should be better for him and other youngsters that don´t get much playing time to go on loan somewhere else to play.”

Premier League is, in this moment, the most fascinating championship in the world and Amelia told us why, in his opinion, the English league was able to overcome Serie A, that was the best league in the world over a decade ago:

“First of all, the stadia are better: to have the fans so close to the pitch, without fences, it´s incredible and give the team lots of adrenalin, in Italy many stadia got the athletics track.

“Furthermore, in England there is less tactical exaggeration, the training sessions are more physical because you must be physically tough but you need also good technical skills and all this benefits good performances, the “Premier League show”.

“I had some managers that were too obsessed with the tactic and this damaged the performances, the freedom of the players to express their talents and the show”.

Speaking about managers and tactical magicians, we got now two of them managing the two sides of Manchester even if, until now, they probably didn´t fulfill all the expectations football fans had about their new adventures:

“I guess Mourinho will do very well at Manchester United, Amelia said about the ex Chelsea boss.

“When you have to put players like [Paul] Pogba and [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic into your squad and tactical system you have to find the squad balance again: they were a little unlucky in autumn, they lost many points and so the chance to be in the title race, but this happened because of what I just said and once they found their balance they started to play better and win. Usually, he wins and does better in the second year. One of his qualities is to make everyone feel important, so everyone is ready to fight if needed.

Guardiola, instead, got some issues to adapt to English football,” the 2006 World Champion says about the ex Barcelona and Bayern manager.

“Mainly because he is trying to bring a different mentality. I don´t think that this is arrogance, it´s just his way to work, he wants to bring his style wherever he goes.”

Thibaut Courtois, David de Gea and Manuel Neuer are, at the moment, in the world goalkeepers top 3 and when asked about who, among the youngsters, can reach their level, Amelia has got no doubt:

“Among the new goalkeepers I like very much [AC Milan´s] Donnarumma: he´s just 17 and already a top player, he´s got tons of personality.”

Amelia is 34 but has no intention to retire from played football: at the moment he is a free agent and trains with a team near Roma, where he currently lives with his family.

The Italian keeper, anyway, knows what would make him happy again:

“My dream is to come back to play in England: I was really close to join Sunderland last summer, but then I had to go back to Italy also for some personal issues, because there are things that are most important than football. I negotiated also with a Championship side and I hope to sign for some team there soon: I am free agent now and I can find a new team until the end of March.

“I cannot go to China or Arabic leagues because they got some rules for which they cannot sign foreign goalkeepers, USA are fascinating but when you have to take these decisions you have to think also about your family, so I would prefer England.”

Do we have a chance to see him at Chelsea should Begovic leave? Everything will be revealed tomorrow night.

(Click HERE to read the first part of our interview with Marco Amelia that was published on Saturday)

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Incredible defeat for Liverpool today at Anfield, with the Reds that lost 3-2 against the bottom of the table team, Swansea.

Chelsea target Fernando Llorente scored a brace in five minutes in the beginning of the second half, Firmino equalised with another brace between 55′ and 69′ but Sigurdsson scored the winner at 74′, a goal that meant 0 points for the Reds.

The Klopp side is third for the moment, with 45 points, the same than Spurs, that have to play Manchester City in some minutes: Citizens got 42 points, and should they win they will reach Pochettino’s side and Liverpool at 45, so Chelsea and his fans must cheer the Guardiola‘s guys to keep all their rivals at 45, 7 points that can become 10 with a win against Hull City at Stamford Bridge tomorrow.

Should Spurs win, they will go to 48 points and can keep a 7 points gap from Chelsea or even reduce it in case the Blues won’t win tomorrow.

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Atletico Madrid star Yannick Ferreira Carrasco‘s agent revealed that Manchester United and Chelsea would have placed a couple of stunning € 86m ( £ 70m) offers for his player.

The news was reported by Spanish media Don Balón.
Christophe Henrotay has also explained that he has notified the Spanish giants of these offers and that there is also interest from Bayern Munich, Juventus and Manchester City.
Carrasco signed a new deal in the Spanish capital last October which included the new buy-out clause with Atleti seemingly resigned to losing him sooner rather than later.

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