Tags Posts tagged with "Premier League"

Premier League

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“Every game is different but we know they are going to be aggressive, - Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic told the club’s official website – They have many good players and we have to be ready for that. We have trained well this week and I am sure we will be”.

Chelsea are ready to face Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley, confident they can bounce back following the last disappointing defeat against Manchester United: “We have already forgotten last Sunday’s game – the Serbian star said – That’s important because a new game brings new challenges and that’s what we have to focus on. It’s the same when we win”.

“We know we will have to play better than last weekend and I think we will. I am feeling good and the atmosphere at Cobham has been good. We’re ready”.

Conte believes Tottenham are not underdogs at all as they fight for the title quite every year. “They’re very good, for me maybe the strongest in the Premier League from the opponents we have faced this season”.

“They are hard to play against because they are strong physically and they can also play with the ball. So we must be ready for that, to stop them and to play our game”.

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Mauricio Pochettino believes Tottenham Hotspur are doing something important so far this season, after reducing gap on Premier League leaders Chelsea.

“Here is a massive success, – Pochettino said – Yes, you can win titles. But with which teams? It is normal to win titles with Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, maybe Juventus, Porto in Portugal”.

“With a big team, you are already very close to winning. Look at Barcelona with Pep (Guardiola), with Tito Vilanova, with (Frank) Rijkaard, with Luis Enrique. All different managers but with the same group of players and they were successful.

“Success for me is to finish in the top four like last season. It was a big success for Tottenham and means maybe more than winning one title with Barcelona”.

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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has confirmed that Nathan Ake is set to start in today’s semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.

With Gary Cahill ruled out of the clash following two nights in hospital, the Dutchman is said to be Conte’s first choice. Ake spent last mid-season on loan at Bournemouth before being recalled by the Italian manager.

“He deserves to have this chance to play because he has always shown me in all this period great commitment, – Conte said ahead of today’s game – He works very hard. His behaviours are great, fantastic. He never said nothing. Don’t forget he was playing every game with Bournemouth and he wanted to come and stay with us and try to work together and help us fight for the title”.

“He is a good player, he is ready to have this opportunity, this chance. He deserves this opportunity and I trust him. I have no problem taking this decision. In this system Ake has the right characteristics to be the substitute to Gary”.

Chelsea will host Southampton on 25th of April after facing Mauricio Pochettino’s men today.

“It’s not a simple situation. – Conte admitted - You have to play a semi-final in a big competition and then two-and-a-half days later we have to play against Southampton, who are rested for 10 days. You have to find the balance. In this case the work is above all tactical work, not physical work, because we have to play a lot of games in a few days”.

‘You must have a strong effort. You must have a plan in your mind and then make the best decision, but you only do that if you win! It’s a great moment for everyone: we have worked a lot to arrive at this point of the season, in a semi-final and fighting for the title”.

Then Conte ended: ‘We have to enjoy this moment, to be compact, to help each other, and to live it with joy.’

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Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Blaise Matuidi is set to leave the French outfit at the end of current season, according to reports in Le Parisien.

It is understood Juventus are keen on the 30-year-old as the Bianconeri already tried to sign him last summer, but also Premier League sides Manchester United and Chelsea are interested in landing Matuidi to the Premier League, according to The Sun online.

Several reports recently suggested that Monaco midfielder Tiémoué Bakayoko has agreed personal terms with Chelsea, but manager Antonio Conte could have set his sights on Matuidi as a replacement.

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Manchester United will use Real Madrid star James Rodriguez as a part of the deal to land David De Gea to Santiago Bernabeu next summer, according to Spanish outlet Diario Gol.

The 25-year-old has been repeatedly linked with a move to Chelsea but will reportedly join the Red Devils as Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane made De Gea a top target and seems desperate to make a move to sign him.

This could mean that Chelsea star Thibaut Courtois won’t leave Stamford Bridge.

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Antonio Conte started his press conference ahead of Spurs FA Cup semifinal giving his condolences to Ugo Ehiogu‘s family after the Tottenham coach passed away this morning.

The Italian manager seemed very touched by this sudden tragedy and added:

“When this kind of situations happen football is not important, it’s not easy to speak about this, this situation hits everyone of us, for sure tomorrow there will be a strange atmosphere.

“It’s a pity, because he was very young, only 44, in these situations you start to think about many things, not good things, we are very sad for this, we can remember him tomorrow, it’s the least we can do.”

About Gary Cahill’s illness, he said:

“For sure this period it’s not lucky for us. When we started to train back on Tuesday he arrived with a bit of fever and our doctor preferred to bring him to the hospital to check his condition, now he’s getting better, but for tomorrow he’s a doubt. His problem was that he got gastroenteritis, but we are controlling the situation.”

Due to Cahill’s illness, Conte could be forced to choose another defender in the three back and John Terry can be a possible candidate:

“This is a semifinal, in this season we tried to have two options in every position, John’s position is in the middle in the 3 back, usually where David Luiz play, I have to think for tomorrow, we have different solutions.”

On John Terry leaving Chelsea at the end of this season he said:

“John has been very important for me in this season, he’s helping me on the pitch and off the pitch, he’s a great captain for us. He wants to play regularly and we have to respect his decision, I was a footballer and I know that when you arrive at this point of your career and your body tells you you can continue to play, you have to do it, your body tells you when it’s over. I think it will be a big loss for next season, for the changing room, in this moment his loss is very important.”

Thibaut Courtois skipped Manchester United‘s clash after an ankle injury he picked up during a commercial shoot, but it seems the Belgian keeper will be able to play tomorrow:

“He recovered for his injury and trained with us in this week, this is the most important thing.

“I spoke about what happened with the club, I keep secret what we said, commercial is an important part for the club, we have to find the right solution.”

Diego Costa apparently received a new huge offer from a Chinese side:

“The most important thing for us it’s to be focused on the present,” Conte replied.

“We have to keep the concentration, we have to finish in a great way, I hope we do something extraordinary. This moment is very important for the club because we’re building foundations, we’re doing a great job together.”

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino claimed that his side are still underdogs, but Conte tried to put some pressure on them claiming this is not the truth:

“They have to finish to consider themselves underdogs, they are a great power in English football now, they are a great team, it’s the second consecutive year they fight for the title. They are building something important, there is a moment where you have to finish to consider yourself an underdogs, this the right moment.”

Asked if a win or defeat tomorrow can affect the title race, Conte replied:

FA Cup and Premier League are very different competitions, if one team win or lose doesn’t affect title race.”

Asked if he wanted to win a double in his first season at Chelsea and in England like his fellow-Italian manager Carlo Ancelotti, he replied:

“Of course we aim to the double, but my situation it’s very different from the Ancelotti’s one. He had the foundation, we’re building them.”

Asked if it will be more difficult to play in a neutral venue like Wembley, he replied:

“I don’t know about this, to play in your stadium of course it’s an advantage, for us it’s the same, it’s different play Wembley and Stamford Bridge, the same it’s for Tottenham. You feel you play in your house, and the opponent feel the same when they come to your house.”

After John Terry’s departure in the end of the season Chelsea will have to find another leader in the dressing room and that will a tough job:

“It’s not easy. Don’t forget this season some very important players for this team, people that made history here, like Ivanovic or Mikel, left and the next season also John Terry will be gone.

“It’s not easy to find the right replacement, for this season I say we are starting to build something important, now we have to find together the right players to replace these players and write again the history for this club. It’s not easy, people have to understand this.”

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Chelsea striker Diego Costa has rejected a summer move to Serie A champions Juventus, according to exclusive reports in The Sun online.

It is understood also a host of Chinese Super League sides are interested in the Spaniard, who had been heavily linked with a return to Atletico Madrid in the last transfer window before deciding to stay put at Stamford Bridge.

Juventus are reportedly lining up a summer move to replace Mario Mandzukic wit Diego Costa, who has been offered a massive £620,000-a-week deal, according to the Daily Mail.

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Chelsea back-up goalkeeper Asmir Begovic is expected to feature in the next FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham due to Thibaut Courtois’ ankle problem.

The Belgian international, who returned to training today, is reportedly struggling to recover from his injury.

Begovic told Standard Sport: “It would be nice to make it fourth time lucky this year. I had no complaints in 2008 because I was very young and was just happy to be in and around the squad. I’d left for Stoke the year Portsmouth got to a second final and then at Stoke it was a time of squad rotation”.

“I was playing in the League games and Sorensen was playing the Cup games. Fair play to him, I had no arguments there. It’s just the way it went. Thomas was a great keeper, did his bit for the team and the club. It’s what the manager decided so hopefully this time around it will be my turn.”

Begovic featured in Chelsea’s starting XI from the third to the fifth FA Cup round this term: “There is a little bit of a history and unfinished business in the competition for me. – he added – But it’s also about helping this team as much as possible”.

“It’s great to play in those kind of games, semi-finals and finals. They are great games to look forward to and I hope to be a part of it. That’s the reason why you play for a club like this.

“It’s important for me to perform in every game and hopefully the manager will trust me to take things forward as well.

“But I will leave it up to the manager. I’m completely buying into the philosophy of the team and us being successful.”

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Chelsea vice-captain Gary Cahill assures his team are still aiming for the double.

The Blues are leaders in the Premier League with a four points gap on Tottenham ( 75-71) and will face the same Spurs in the FA Cup semifinal at Wembley this Saturday:

“That’s our aim [to win the double],” Cahill said.


“It is going to be a great tie,” he added, speaking of the game.

“I think for the neutral, it is a terrific semi-final of teams left in the competition. One to look forward to, one that will add importance.

“It adds importance, as games against Tottenham always are. We will be ready for it and we will look forward to it. It adds a little bit but no matter who you come up against, it is a semi-final at Wembley to get to the final.


“We should be preparing in the same way, doing the same things. It is great to be back at Wembley. It is a great stadium to play at.” 

Speaking about the other semifinalists – Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester City- Cahill said:

“Listen, it is four top teams in there.They are four massive clubs, massive teams.

“I don’t think it was the hardest [draw] or easiest. Any draw would have been tough. We would be speaking about any of them in the same way.

“We have got Tottenham. There’s going to be a little added with the London rivalry but it is a route to the final. Whoever wins it will deserve to win it, with the strength of the teams in the semi.”

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There are four Chelsea players in the PFA Team of the Year that was announced this morning.

Gary Cahill, David Luiz, Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante all made it in the Premier League top evelen.

A deserved prize for their outstanding season.

The full team:

Goalkeeper: David De Gea ( Manchester United)

Defenders: Kyle Walker ( Spurs) Gary Cahill ( Chelsea) David Luiz ( Chelsea) Danny Rose ( Spurs)

Midfielders: Sadio Mane ( Liverpool) N’Golo Kante ( Chelsea) Dele Alli ( Spurs) Eden Hazard ( Chelsea)

Forwards: Harry Kane ( Spurs) Romelu Lukaku ( Everton)




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