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Spain

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Antonio Conte reveals he is not sure to have a full squad to select for the clash against Crystal Palace, that will be played at Stamford Bridge tomorrow afternoon.

The Italian boss admitted they had a difficult week at Cobham, with many players that were away for the international break and others that got some injuries that now are concerning him:

“We got two-three situations that we have to value tomorrow,” the Chelsea manager said during today’s press conference.

Conte was probably speaking about Diego Costa and Thibaut Courtois, who picked up minor injuries with their national teams: the Spaniard in his ankle and the Belgian goalkeeper in his hip.

“This week wasn’t easy to work, with the international break, some players came back with some problems, I have two-three situations to value.

“I think is important to check the situation with these players, John [Terry] is good, he trained all the week, for some others is important to value the situation.”

 

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Antonio Conte is worried after a couple of his stars suffered minor injuries while on international duty: both Diego Costa and Thibaut Courtois picked up knocks with their national teams during the weekend.

The Belgian goalkeeper will miss Belgium’s match with Russia tomorrow in a friendly after picking up a hip injury, however is hoping to be back in time for Saturday’s league match.

Costa suffered an ankle injury during the training with Spain yesterday, a thing that was confirmed by Spanish football association:

“Diego Costa was forced to leave the training session after being injured on his foot and ankle, due to which he was submitted to a series of tests (X-ray and TAC) at Sanitas Clinic in La Moraleja, where finally he was given the ok.

“The footballer is still under observation and will remain with the team during training camp,Chelsea FC medical services were informed of the players’ condition.”

Speaking to Radio Onda Cero Spanish national team coach Julen Lopetegui added:

“In principle he will come with us to Paris. As it was only a knock, but not an injury, we will see how evolves. Sometimes when it’s only a knock the evolution it’s surprisingly positive. It looked big but fortunately it has been only a scare”.

 

 

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PEDRO SPAIN

Chelsea star Pedro spoke after being selected in 25-man Spain squad for their incoming games against Israel (World Cup Qualifier) and France (friendly).

“It’s a new chance for me, a new challenge, - said Pedro when asked about head coach Julen LopeteguiWe are looking at how he wants to play, his ideas. He’s another coach to add to the list in my career. I’m pleased to meet with team-mates and experiencing a good moment with my club. I am happy to be here”.

Then he added: “We all come to join the team with the coach’s requests. I work at 100 per cent and try to compete at the top level. I have to make the most of the chances I’m given. I’m happy to be back and to train with the squad”.

 

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Good performance for Mason Mount with England Under 19 team which today played Norway at St. George’s Park.

England won the match 3-0 and the Chelsea young forward scored the first goal netting from close range.

The Blues youngster and his team-mates will play again on Friday, this time vs Spain.

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Spain have announced their squad to face Israel and France next week, with Chelsea stars Cesar Azpilicueta, Pedro and Diego Costa regularly selected by Julen Lopetegui.

Pedro returns to the first squad after being left out in November, while both Cesc Fabregas and Marcos Alonso didn’t make the cut despite their outstanding performances under Antonio Conte this season so far.

Goalkeepers – Pepe Reina (Napoli), David De Gea (Manchester United), Sergio Rico (Sevilla)

DefendersNacho (Real Madrid), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Javi Martínez (Bayern Munich), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Nacho Monreal (Arsenal), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)

MidfieldersAnder Herrera (Manchester United), Asier Illarramendi (Real Sociedad), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Isco (Real Madrid), Thiago (Bayern Munich), David Silva (Manchester City), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)

Strikers – Alvaro Morata (Real Madrid), Gerard Deulofeu (AC Milan), Vitolo (Sevilla), Diego Costa (Chelsea), Pedro (Chelsea), Iago Aspas (Celta)

 

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Cesc Fabregas was finally a starter today and the Spaniard fulfilled all the expectations, being the man of the match.

The ex Arsenal and Barcelona midfielder was crucial with his lofted pass in the build-up to Chelsea’s first goal, that was scored by Pedro halfway through the second part of the game at Wolves:

“That first 15-20 minutes they were on top of us,” Fabregas said after the game.

“It’s not easy to come to these places. We knew that we had to be at our best and I think it was a professional performance.

“I want to play, obviously I want to play. But we want to win. There is a great group and a great togetherness.”

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Chelsea star Cesc Fabregas admits he feels some kind of frustration for not being a regular starter under Antonio Conte but the Spaniard promises he will keep fighting to get more playing time under the Italian manager:

“I play football to win and enjoy,” the ex Arsenal and Barcelona midfielder said after the game against Hull City.

“When I don’t play I’m sad and I don’t enjoy it but I’m happy the team is doing well. Football is my life, it’s everything to me.

“Every time I’m on the pitch I try to do my best. In this game it went well again so I just need to keep going and show the manager I deserve to play.”

Fabregas made an impact again yesterday against Hull City, coming in at 71′ when Chelsea were only 1-0 up and under pressure with the Tigers pushing to equalise: he then was decisive again serving an assist for Gary Cahill for the 2-0 goal at 81′, a perfect cross on a free-kick to allow the English defender score with a beautiful header.

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Despite Antonio Conte dismissing speculations on an a possible Diego Costa’s move to China many English football pundits think there is something true behind what happened in the last days between Chelsea and the Spanish striker.

For instance, former Premier League footballer Danny Mills believes it’s natural that Diego Costa’s head will be turned by a rumoured transfer to Chinese Super League side Tianjin Quanjian:

“Suddenly there’s rumours of a bid that, you know, China want to offer him thirty million pounds a year, is it? Of course his head is going to be turned.

“You know, why wouldn’t it? Who wouldn’t have their head turned at that? Who wouldn’t want to go?

“People talk about loyalty – there’s no loyalty from clubs, you know, that’s non-existent in this day and age and you have to remember Costa’s Brazilian.

“You know, he’s already defected his country and gone and played for Spain, he has no affinity to his own country let alone to an English Premier League side, he’s not particularly… I’m sure he likes London but he’s got no real affinity to London. Brazilians move around all the time, it’s what they do.”

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Ex Chelsea player Tony Cascarino claims Blues already found a Diego Costa‘s substitute, should the Spanish striker move to China after an alleged monster offer arrived to him from Tianjin Quanjian:

“That’s the reason we now know why [Fernando] Llorente has come to Stamford Bridge,” the ex forward said to Sky Sports.

“He’s worked with Conte before [at Juventus] but can he do the job Diego has done? Not so well, I’d imagine.”

 

 

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