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Despite falling out with him last summer Chelsea boss Antonio Conte claims he maintains good memories about Diego Costa, who was unveiled as a new Atletico Madrid striker today, a return for the Brazilian born forward, who already played for five years in the Spanish side until 2014, when he signed for the Blues:

“It’s not right to talk about players who are not in my team and squad,” Conte told Sky Sports.

“But I thank him for his commitment and behaviour during the season.

“We won together, so I will always remember him in a positive way. We fought together and won together.”

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Speaking to Chelsea official website, the Blues manager Antonio Conte claims his players must stay focused on their target in the Premier League.

Winning the title seems very difficult, but Chelsea must fight until the end.

“I think in this league there is great motivation for all to try to stay there and fight until the end”. – Conte said – “I don’t know if we can do this for the title because it depends on Man City who are doing something extraordinary. To win every game and draw one means you are having a fantastic run. There is great motivation to find a place in the Champions League next year, there are four places for six top teams.”

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LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 30: Gary Cahill of Chelsea and David Silva of Manchester City battle for possession during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on September 30, 2017 in London, England.

Gary Cahill warns Manchester City: despite the Citizens leading the Premier League table with 34 points in 12 games, 8 more than Manchester United and 9 more than Chelsea, the Blues captain believes that Pep Guardiola’s side still have a long way to go before securing the title:

“They’ve started off full steam ahead and that’s great for them, but we’re not even at Christmas yet, so let’s just hold fire and see how they get on,” the centre-back told Chelsea’s website.

“They look fantastic at the moment and we have taken a fair bit of criticism at times this season, but we’ve had three clean sheets on the bounce in the league now, it was a great performance and we’ve got a long way still to go.”

Speaking about yesterday’s win at West Brom Cahill said:

“I have to admit it was a superb performance from us, from every single player, and collectively we are very happy,” the 31-year-old said. “I felt we played some good football, we kept the ball when we needed to and we scored goals. We saw a bit of everything from us, so performance-wise it was very, very good.

“We were away from home so we expected to be under a bit of pressure, especially early on, and they did come out of the traps pretty quick. We had five or 10 minutes where we had to get hold of the game, but I thought we dealt with that very quickly and once we had control of the game, we went from strength to strength.

“I’m sure they found it very difficult to play against us, we always seemed to have an option to get out of trouble and there was a lot of composure on the ball, which allowed us to keep it for long periods.

“So it was a great team performance, one we have kind of been waiting for, and the scoreline we have been kind of waiting for, so we’re delighted.”

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Speaking to the Evening Standard and looking at current season Chelsea form former Blues midfielder Gustavo Poyet claimed that winning the title is like a virus:

“Winning the title, it’s a virus. After you win it the next year something goes wrong for [Jose] Mourinho, [Carlo] Ancelotti and Conte [at Chelsea]. It’s tough and when you’re champions everyone wants to kill you.

“For Chelsea it was a very strange summer, a mess inside the club. The Diego Costa situation was tough and so was replacing him. The new players need time to adapt and prove themselves.

“Last year, with all respect to the squad players, the team was [stable]. This year you make one team, I make one team, he makes one team, Conte makes another team. That consistency is why they won the league… not just of selection but formation and style of play.”

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After the important Premier League win on Saturday at Stamford Bridge vs Watford,  Thibaut Courtois admits this was the first step to avoid Antonio Conte will suffer the same “fate” as José Mourinho who was sacked by Chelsea few months after winning the Premier League title.

We are ready to fight for the coach,” – Courtois told the Evening Standard .  – I remember what happened two years ago under Jose Mourinho and things started to be said, there were stories about the dressing room without knowing what was happening. In 2015 we wanted to fight as well but the game didn’t turn out well for us, there was too much bad luck. Sometimes different things happened. But we are showing we want to fight again now, firstly as a group of players. We want to win games. Some of us remember what happened two years ago and we don’t want the same thing to happen.”

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Marcos Alonso still hopes to be included in the Spain national team for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, but he knows he has to perform well and win some titles with Chelsea if he wants to get that chance.

From the moment I arrived here, I have felt great playing as a starter,” – Alonso told Cadena Ser Radio – “We had a great season and we deserved the Premier league title. I’ve continued my development at Chelsea and I have to continue to work in order to improve. It’s not going to be easy to win the Premier League again,” he said. “There are many teams that can opt for the title. We saw it two years ago that even a team like Leicester can compete and win the league. The two Manchester teams have strengthened their sides very well. Tottenham have a solid group that has worked together for some time, Liverpool have a strong side. We will fight in each game to give ourselves a chance to be there in the battle.”

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Chelsea legend Pat Nevin claims it will be very hard for the Blues to retain their Premier League title as Manchester City are setting a quality standard right now very difficult to match by any other team.

There is a little sour taste left in the mouth after the loss against Man City and even the points dropped the other week against Arsenal stick in the throat a bit,” – Nevin wrote on Chelsea’s official website. “The two Manchester clubs have a bit of a gap in the league but it is very early days still and any expectation of the league being a cake walk was never seriously considered by anyone anyway. City in particular are the benchmark for quality right now and if they keep up their skill levels, speed and style from the start of this season then they will be very hard to catch.”

 

 

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New York Times journalist Rory Smith claims there is a feeling this one will be Antonio Conte‘s last season at Chelsea.

Smith believes all the signs are pointing towards Conte leaving Stamford Bridge next summer.

The Italian coach recently signed a new contract but he didn’t extend the deal, he only agreed more lucrative terms: with all the disquiet coming from the Blues in the last weeks, it seems the moment Conte will depart from West London is not so far:

“There seems to be at Chelsea, a kind of understanding that this will be Conte’s last season whatever happens,” Smith claimed.

“Why? He’s never made it clear.

Mourinho at Manchester United is pretending he wants to be there for 10 years, just as [Pep] Guardiola is pretending he wants to be there [at Manchester City] for 10 years, they don’t.

“Managerial lifetimes last three to five years.

Pep Guardiola will not be at Manchester City for the next 10 years.

“Conte’s always made clear this is a short-term thing.

“I’m not 100 per cent certain his wife and daughter have moved to London yet.

“There has always been this whisper that he feels that two or three years will be enough and there were suggestions at the start of the season when he signed a deal for improved money but not greater length after winning the title.”

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Gary Neville reckons Premier League title will go to Manchester this season: the Sky Sports pundit is not sure if United or City will win it, but he is sure the league trophy will be back in his city.

“I said last season that the title would come to Manchester – and I was wrong – but I think this year it will.

“I think Chelsea will dip a little bit,” the Manchester United legend claimed.

“Not in a negative way, but just having the Champions League will bring different challenges.

“I think Tottenham will be strong, but I feel that either United or City will win it, but I’m not sure who!

“I say it every year, whoever recruits best, wins the league.

“Chelsea getting N’Golo Kante was a masterstroke and Eden Hazard and Diego Costa came back to form.

“All the clubs are going for the same players, they’re all expensive and controlled by agents.

“So, whoever has the best relationship, the best contacts and is willing to put the money in will probably do it,” the former England international concluded.

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Current Fulham captain Scott Parker announced he will retire from football.

The English midfielder, almost 37, is a legend of English football, having played for some historical sides through-out his career like Chelsea, Tottenham, Newcastle, West Ham, Charlton, Norwich ( on loan) and Fulham.

Parker moved to Chelsea in January 2004, but he only collected 4 apperances in the first successful year of José Mourinho at Stamford Bridge in 2004/2005, due to an foot injury: he scored one goal in 15 appearences in this unlucky spell. He was proceding from Charlton and then moved to Newcastle.

He also collected 18 for England senior team, and was once captain in a friendly match against Netherlands in February 2012.

Speaking about the decision of ending his played football career he said:

“The decision to retire has not been an easy one for me but having thought long and hard over it, and having discussed it with those closest to me, I believe that now is the right time to move on to the next chapter in my life and career,” a statement from Parker wrote.

“I have enjoyed so many incredible moments during my career. From making my first team debut at Charlton, to playing regularly in the Premier League, playing in the Champions League to then playing in a major tournament for England, as well as ultimately fulfilling a lifelong dream by captaining my country. There are just too many highlights to mention.

“I would like to thank everyone at Charlton Athletic, Norwich City, Chelsea, Newcastle United, West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham for the unbelievable support that I’ve been shown throughout my time at each and every one of the club’s I’ve been proud to represent.”

 

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