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On Sunday Chelsea will face Manchester City: Pep Guardiola‘s side are top of the league and they are just few weeks away from winning the Premier League title.

On the other hand the Blues are fighting for a spot in the top four and in the next Champions League, but Chelsea manager Antonio Conte want to be closer to Manchester City beginning from next season and so he invites the London club to share his ambitions.

It is not a question for me about ambition, the club has to show ambition. The coach works every day every hard, but the club has to show ambition”. Conte said and then added about Manchester City:  “We must have great admiration for them, because they are having a fantastic season, it is very difficult to find a weakness in this team. When you work very well and there is great feeling, then you can work the way you want to improve your team. Also City have chance to spend a lot of money, and when you link a good manager and that much money, this is the final result.” 

 

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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte says he is happy to work with youngsters and to build the Blues’ future with them.

As you can see, we are working a lot also with, for example, Ampadu. He’s only 17 years old. Christensen is only 21 years old. There are also [Tiemoue] Bakayoko, who is only 23; [Davide] Zappacosta is only 25″. Conte said. “We took a lot of young players. With Christensen, we are trying to develop the young players of the academy. I think we are doing a fantastic job. We are trying to build something important with work – not with words or money.”

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In his press conference ahead of the Fa Cup‘s fourth round game vs Chelsea, Rafa Benitez admits the most important thing for Newcastle is to avoid relegation and to stay in the Premier League.

For this reason the Spanish manager will make some changes to the team when they will face Antonio Conte‘s side.

I think we have to find the balance. I always say we can progress in any competition, in this case in the FA Cup, if we have the squad strong enough to compete,” Benitez said. “We will see if we can do it, but I will use the squad, for sure. Every game is important, but obviously we know how massive it is to stay in the Premier League, because of all the money around and then you can improve your team if you have more money. It’s a win-win situation if you stay in the Premier League, so that is something we have to consider. But at the same time, if we can use the squad, we will try to do our best. We will use some players that were maybe not playing, and obviously some that were. I need to find this balance between players with match fitness and players who are not playing too much.”

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Chelsea boss Antonio Conte took a swipe at the two Manchester clubs claiming a lavish transfer market don’t automatically bring you wins.

Manchester City splashed nearly £ 200m on the market last summer while Man United spent around £ 160m ( Chelsea spent around £ 130m… anyway) and the Italian manager commented on this:

“I think this season it’s very important to understand that it’s not always about who spends more money who wins,” said Conte.

“Otherwise, in this league, this season the name of the team wasn’t Chelsea or Tottenham or Arsenal or Liverpool. You understand?

“Look at the past. It’s normal for them. It’s right for them to do this, to reinforce their teams, if they think this is the right way to win the title.

Manchester City and Manchester United will face each other in a derby tonight that won’t mean anything for the title race, as many were expecting at the start of this season: the two sides will fight for

Asked to comment what Conte said, Citizens boss Pep Guardiola replied:

“I played with Barcelona and won the Champions League with eight guys growing from the academy. Zero cost to win the Champions League, that happened.

“But all the clubs are going to spend a lot of money and you cannot forget all the players that Chelsea have that cost a lot of money.

“People think that just City spend money but all the clubs around the world, in Spain, Germany, England and Italy, they spend a lot of money.

“This summer it is going to happen again. Here spends more money than the other countries because of the media, who pay a lot of money to decide when we are going to play. That’s why there is a little bit more here.”

“But all around the world there is a lot of money to spend, even Chelsea.”

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Speaking in an exclusive interview for France Football former Chelsea manager José Mourinho claimed that football is becoming crazy and that players and managers have to deal with huge amount of pressure also because of financial interests that involve any club:

“Everyone is under pressure,” the current Manchester United boss claimed.

“The media scrutiny is so enormous that even in a historic situation, that of Claudio Ranieri at Leicester, you find yourself sacked six months after winning the title. 

“That is why, for me, all the stages of the process are important. The first was to put the fans in harmony with the team, which was not the case in the last two years.”

When asked what qualities a manager needs to survive in the current football climate, the Portuguese coach said:

“Taking into account the human qualities, techniques and tactics, leadership, I think that the most important quality for a manager in this multifunctional job is to know how to deal with pressure, meaning in the current environment where football is a passion for normal people, but for others, it is an industry.

“Even in this country, which is home to tradition and stability, everything is in the process of becoming screwed up. The clubs are owned by foreign investors, no longer by traditional English people with the policies that came with that. 

“Last season, I was sacked by Chelsea six months after becoming champion. The same of Ranieri this season with Leicester. This job is becoming crazy!

“For Ranieri, I think it was the success which was impossible to duplicate. He did something that he could not repeat. And people in the club were not loyal enough to understand that. 

“It seemed obvious that, this season, they were going to find themselves in this situation. They did not understand that. They sacrificed their magician.”

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Ex Manchester United and Liverpool midfielder Paul Ince shared his opinion about a Diego Costa’s potential move to China:

“You also have Diego Costa at Chelsea. He’s scoring goals and enjoying his football, yet he’s still open to leaving for China,” Ince wrote in his blog for Paddy Power.

“Why? £2m a month tax free is an obvious attraction, but that doesn’t substitute for winning medals and performing with the very elite in your game. That’s just pure greed.

“Whether it’s now or at of the season that isn’t the point. Costa is 28 years old. He could play at Chelsea for the next two years, earn good money, and still go to China when he’s 30. Carlos Tevez has just made the switch and he’s 32.”

 

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Marcelo Brozovic‘s agent Miroslav Bicanic spoke to Croatian dauly Jutarnji:

It was not about the money: Marcelo stayed at Inter also for technical and tactical reasons,” the Croatia international representant explained.

Linked to Juventus, Arsenal and Chelsea during the last transfer window, the midfielder is now ready to extend his deal with the Nerazzurri.

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KENNETH OMERUO

Chelsea player Kenneth Omeruo went on loan to Kasimpasa last summer and made an impact in the Turkish Super Lig with 18 appearances.

Now the Istanbul side are eighth on the table but a source told africanfootball.com that Kasimpasa don’t have money to sign him on a permanent deal:

“Kasimpasa don’t have the money to buy Omeruo outrightly at the end of the season. They rather want another loan for the player and it may now mean the player will have to return to Chelsea,” the source said.

Omeruo got a contract with Chelsea until 2018 and since Kasimpasa cannot afford his signing he will go back to London at the end of this season.

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Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has criticized the rules according to which currently operates the Premier League. The Chilean said that he can’t understand the folly of the Premier League sack race if a particular manager does not achieve good results all the time.

At the time when Jose Mourinho find himself in the firing line for the bad results and disappointing performances of Chelsea, Pellegrini blasts the Premier League rules and the changes in the culture of the organization. In his opinion, the lack of patience is a sign of the pursuit of money and no real idea of football.

Pellegrini said:

”Things have changed in England and I don’t ­understand why they are now so impatient,”

”Several years ago in England, most clubs in the Premier League had patience with their managers. That is changing”

”And it is not just more difficult for young managers – it is difficult for all managers. I read every day that Chelsea will sack Mourinho. It has also happened to Van Gaal.”

”“The same happened to me. I have been criticised the first year, the second year and also the third year. But we won two titles in the first season, in the next season we were second and now we lead the Premier League. That is why I don’t change my way of thinking.”

”“The longer you can be at a club, the better it is for the manager – and for the club. Having a manager like Arsene Wenger, in the way that he works for a long time, means that his club will improve.”

”Wenger is one of the great club managers because he has continued for 18 or 19 years. I don’t own a club, so I don’t know how they think.”

“But if was an owner, I’d choose a manager for say three years and he would see out his contract. Then you should decide.”

“Of course, signing the contract helped because you can’t always work with all the rumours. You lose one game and another rumour starts about next season – and that is bad for the players, bad for the manager and bad for the club.”

“It wasn’t about getting one more year, it was a thing of trust and proof that the club believes that you will improve.”

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MARTINEZ STONES

Everton manager Roberto Martinez spoke again about the missed transfer of John Stones to Chelsea, claiming that money cannot buy everything:

[The Stones saga] shows that the richest clubs cannot simply click their fingers and get whatever they want.

As a club we have the player, and we can say that we are keeping him. Yes, we know the pressure that will bring, and that is why the chairman deserves incredible credit.”

The chairman in question is the Everton’s Bill Kenwright, who supported his manager’s claims when he released his own statement on the Toffees’ club website, that said:

Everton Football Club has rejected a transfer request from John Stones.

Since the start of the transfer window, we have resolutely turned down offers from another Premier League football club for our player.

John is not for sale and he will remain a highly valued member of our first team squad.

Bill Kenwright
Chairman, Everton Football Club

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