Tags Posts tagged with "title race"

title race

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Victor Moses challenging Spurs star Harry Kane in November 2016 game at Stamford Bridge © Francesca Ceciarini

Harry Kane claimed Spurs must be ready to take advantage of the situation in case Chelsea would slip up in Premier League title race:

“We’ve got to concentrate on ourselves, build a gap on the teams around us and if Chelsea drop points then great and if they don’t then we’ll be second or third,’‘ the Tottenham striker said.

“Hopefully. It’s hard to talk and say we are because we’ve got to show we are,” said the English forward, who leads the Premier League scoring charts with 19 goals.

“We were disappointed last year, as we all know. We are in a good position now, trying to catch Chelsea, but it’s important we build a gap between the teams around us as well and with Man United and Arsenal dropping points it was important we capitalise.”

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Eden Hazard is back to top performances this season and the Belgian claims that most part of the merit is Antonio Conte’s, that gave him a better role and helped the squad to improve:

“It’s easier for me to play more inside now and link up,” Hazard claimed after the win against West Ham.

Last season I was more out wide and there I am sometimes alone, against two guys.

Antonio Conte is a great character and he helps us a lot.”

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Antonio Conte is doing an awesome job at Chelsea © Francesca Ceciarini

Frank Lampard spoke about Chelsea fantastic season and Antonio Conte‘s impressive job that transformed the Blues during the last months:

“It is a nice situation, you are top of the league and some games you are winning comfortably,” the Blues legend claimed while speaking to Standard Sport.

“You can give some players time, but at the same time it doesn’t have to be the case. He could concentrate on the moment. 

“People talk about a manager’s lifespan being two years so why should you worry about 18-year-olds. But from seeing Conte bringing young players in, incorporating them into the training squad, showing faith in them… I know the work that is being done in the academy and they deserve that. 

“They deserve those lads being given time so let’s hope some of them push through and really become top players.”

Lampard gave also his opinion on last season’s disaster:

“They obviously relaxed after winning the league previously. The minute you relax in football, whether as an individual or as a team, you really feel it, especially in the Premier League now. 

“Last year was a perfect storm in a negative way, where players backed off and when you get bad results, that can become a bit of a feeling around the squad. That had to go. But what I didn’t imagine, was that the reaction would be so good. I expected them to challenge, to be in the top four, I didn’t expect them to go so far clear and that is credit to the club.”

About his future, Lampard said:

 

“I haven’t got a clear route. At the minute I need to get my badges. To shout my mouth off that I am going to get this job or that would be completely wrong and I wouldn’t feel right doing it anyway. 

“I am very calm about it. I am working behind the scenes at the minute with young players, learning the trade on the other side of the fence which is a big change. I’ll make my decision down the line.

“Chelsea are helping me with my badges and I am thankful for that. The badges are a process and that will take some time. I will do some TV to keep me involved and I am interested in that kind of stuff so that leaves me with my options open. 

“When you finish, it is important you don’t make a rash decision straight away. You are in this bubble of being a player and you can step outside that and make sure you make the right decision. Fortunately, I have got options so it is about taking the right one.”

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Chelsea star Eden Hazard revealed that the team and him want to close this Premier League title race as soon as possible, so to release the pressure and to end in the best way possible a fantastic season for the Blues:

It’s easier for me to play more inside now and link up. Last season I was more out wide and there I am sometimes alone, against two guys,” he told Sky Sports News after the win against West Ham.

Antonio Conte is a great character and he helps us a lot. We want to win the trophy as soon as possible and bring it back to Stamford Bridge.”

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After the important win in the derby against West Ham tonight Chelsea boss Antonio Conte claims he trusts his players for what is remaining in this title race.

Eleven games to go and Chelsea ( 66) are keeping a ten points gap on Spurs, who sit second in the table with 56, and 11 on Manchester City ( 55) who, anyway, got a game in hand:

“West Ham started very well, you have to manage this kind of games, ” the Italian manager said in the press conference after the final whistle.

“To me, Hammers are really strong, [they got a] good coach, good players.

Don’t forget West Ham v Chelsea is a derby and these games are always difficult, we were good in managing the game in the beginning and then to score a goal and control the match.

“It was a pity to give away the clean sheet in the end of the game, like against Arsenal. It the second time it happens to us and we have to improve in this kind of situations, to keep the clean sheet is important.

“It’s not easy to play after tour rivals [ in title race] won, because you know that if you don’t win and drop points you give hope to them [for the title race].

“I am very pleased for my players, we performed very well, we controlled the game. Our defenders defended very well, especially the long balls for Carroll.

Conte was asked if now that Chelsea seem in control of the title race will have more pressure since they cannot drop points or make mistakes:

“I think this period has started, because now there are “only* 11 games, even if for me are a lot.

In this period is very important to leave the pressure away, when you play a game after your rival won the day before it’s not easy.

I am pleased for the commitment and mentality of my players, we were really compact, we didn’t give West Ham many chances to score, we controlled the game, I guess sometimes it’s better to score more when you have the chance to increase the score.

“Honestly we scored two good goals, but I guess today we created more chances to score other goals, it’s important to seal the games before, when you are winning 1-0 or 2-0 in PL anything can happen. I think if West Ham scored in minute 85 instead than 92 we could be in trouble, so this is the reason why we need to be more cynical before.

The Italian coach was also asked if he trusts his players in what is left of this title race:

“I must have confidence we don’t drop 10 points gap, we’re deserving to stay on top of the table and now that we stay there it’s important to continue to keep this position, it was important that Arsenal and Manchester United dropped points, because now the rivals [for the title] start to be less.

“I listen to the other managers and they believe they can win, it’s fair to have this ambition.

“But its’ important also for us to have this ambition and not lose it. I trust my players because they are showing me great commitment also during the week, in the training sessions, [they got] great will to work very hard, to improve, to improve our work.

Conte was asked about the importance of N’Golo Kante in this team:

“I knew that he made 50 passes and made 5 mistakes, he has to improve in this [ he jokes].

“Actually, I have to find one situation where he can improve, he’s a really good player, he’s got a great stamina but also great quality, I’m pleased for him but I think all my players performed very well.

“Now it’s important to rest tomorrow and then to start to prepare Manchester United game, FA Cup is another target for us, they are a good team, with good players and good quality.”

The Italian was also asked about the importance of Eden Hazard:

“He’s a really important player for us, great technique, great talent, he’s better when he plays btw the lines and go 1 v1 to beat his opponents and score, we got other good players that can score in counter attacks, like Pedro, Willian, Diego Costa, but also Eden can be good there. We all know how good he is.”

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Cesc Fabregas celebrating his goal against Swansea © Francesca Ceciarini

WEST HAM - Randolph, Kouyate, Fonte, Reid, Cresswell, Noble (c), Obiang, Feghouli, Snodgrass, Lanzini, Carroll

Subs: Adrian, Collins, Masuaku, Byram, Fernandes, Calleri, Ayew

Manager: Slaven Bilic

 

CHELSEA – Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill (c); Moses, Fabregas, Kante, Alonso; Pedro, Diego Costa, Hazard.

Subs: Begovic, Terry, Zouma, Matic, Loftus-Cheek, Willian, Batshuayi

Manager: Antonio Conte

 

Referee: Andre Marriner

Venue: London Stadium, London, UK

Kick Off: 8 pm GMT

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PETR CECH ARSENAL

Former Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech told BBC Sport that Arsenal have no chances to challenge the Blues in the title race this season after losing 3-1 against Liverpool at Anfield.

The Gunners now can only focus on a top four finish, according to the Czech Republic star.

“We were more aggressive after the break and started winning the 50-50 battles – he said - It’s disappointing when you lose the game, but more disappointing conceding the first two goals because we weren’t in danger.

“With three points we would have been in the chase for the title, but now we’re too far.

Then Cech added: “We need to ensure that we finish as high as possible and in the top four.”

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During his press conference to preview West Ham clash on Monday night Chelsea boss Antonio Conte was immediately asked if there is something true in past days’ rumours that were linking him to Inter:

“I think my situation is very clear, I got a contract with Chelsea,” the Italia manager said.

“We’re trying to build something important with the club, for the present and for the future.

“Offers from Inter? No, to me personally, no.

Asked if he is home-sick, since his family is still living in Italy, Conte answered:

“The only problem for me this season is that my family is missing me, because they stay in Italy, I am working to bring them here in the future and to stay together. They miss me, it’s the truth.

Focusing on the derby against Hammers, Conte admitted it won’t be easy to go back home with three points:

“I hope it will be a different game from the EFL Cup’s one, we hope to have a different game and get the 3 points, it won’t be easy, it’s a derby, against West Ham.

“We have to be very determined and focused to get a good result. For sure it will be a tough game, also because we will know the results of the other teams, there could be pressure, that could positive or negative pressure, but we are ready to play this game and do better.

Conte was also asked if he got a special plan to stop West Ham striker Andy Carroll, probably the best header in the Premier League:

“For sure he’s a really good player, very strong physically, we must pay attention to him and to the whole West Ham squad, [ because] in the EFL Cup they beat us. We have different solutions to limit the strength of the opponents. It’s important to play with high intensity, they got different dangerous players, so we have to play very well.

The Italian coach was also asked about Michy Batshuayi’s future: the Belgian striker doesn’t really seem to fit in his plans this season:

“I like to repeat that the most important thing is the present, to live in the present, to work. Now he’s working very well for us, he must continue to work and then everything can happen.

Conte reveals he had just a little injury concern for Monday night’s game:

“Injuries? Nothing important apart from a little problem for Eden Hazard, but nothing serious, the rest of the team is fit and we are working very well. He got a kick, nothing serious.

Regarding again his future at Chelsea, he said:

“Every coach, when start to work with a new club, wants to stay many years, because it means you are working very well. I think this season we are doing this, we are putting a great foundation down for the present but also for the future. There are a lot of players that won a lot in other teams and then changed. It’s normal, for every coach, to hope to stay many years.

“We must be ready for all, look at what happened to Ranieri, I hope to win a lot with this club.

“The [football] history tells this, but I am not worried about this, I want to work very hard and I trust my work a lot. I want to try to do something important also in this season because we are in the right position and we have the possibility to win in this way.

About Moses’ improvement under him this season and the new deal the Nigerian winger signed on Wednesday he said:

“First of all it’s right to say that Moses deserved a new contract, he’s a really good guy, a great player, with good technique and will to fight. I was very clear to him already in the pre-season, telling to him that I wanted him to stay here all season, I am pleased for him, he deserved this.

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Eden Hazard against Everton back in November © Francesca Ceciarini

Antonio Conte revealed Chelsea star Eden Hazard is a doubt for Monday night Premier League derby against West Ham.

When asked about injury concerns ahead of this clash, the Italian manager replied:

“Injuries? Nothing important apart from a little problem for Eden Hazard, but nothing serious, the rest of the team is fit and we are working very well. He got a kick during the training session when we re-started on Wednesdayt, but I guess it’s nothing serious. Anyway, we have to value his situation”.

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger warned his players before the trip to Anfield to face Liverpool: keep Chelsea out of your minds.

The Gunners boss is not ruling out a late charge for the title but wants to ensure the Blues are not the team in his players minds in tomorrow’s crucial clash:

“We have a game in hand and things can change quickly, but we have to focus on our next game,” Wenger told reporters today.

“To do a thing like that, you need exceptional rhythm in your results and, as well, Chelsea to fade.

“At the moment it is more important that we focus on winning our games and focus on our next game rather than dreaming about coming back to Chelsea.”

 

 

 

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