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Chelsea defender David Luiz has praised Italian manager Antonio Conte following his side’s great win against Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday evening.

“He’s a fantastic person before a fantastic manager, so we talk a lot, every day, because we have a great relationship,” the Brazilian star explained to the club’s official website.

“We try to give our best for our club and he tries to help me with his intelligence for football to improve my football – he added – So I am very happy to work with him. He did an amazing job in this game.”

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“It was a big game, we knew it would be tough against fantastic players, but we are very happy because we won,Chelsea defender David Luiz told the club’s official website – Now we think about the next challenge, against Southampton”. 

‘The Premier League is a different competition, we know Spurs are a fantastic team and they won’t be too down just because they lost one game, so it will be difficult until the end.’

When asked about Conte’s decision to start the FA Cup Semifinal with both Eden Hazard and Diego Costa on the bench, David Luiz added: “Everybody belongs at this fantastic club, so it doesn’t matter who starts. Everybody has the quality to play”.

“This was a tough game, against top players in a special competition so it was a great atmosphere for everybody. At the end of the day we are happy because we won against a fantastic team”.

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Tottenham striker Harry Kane has admitted his side did and will do everything to win and lift the Premier League trophy for Ugo Ehiogu, who tragically passed away two days ago.

“Of course, we’ll do everything we can to win the league for him. – Kane said after the FA Cup semifinal against Chelsea – Of course the last couple of days have been tough. Ugo was a great character around the training ground, and it was just shocking news”.

“But that is no excuse for what happened against Chelsea, as we still had a job to do. I thought we did very well and probably deserved more but when you play the big teams on the big stage you need those big moments to go your way they didn’t”.

“We wanted to win for him and for ourselves as well. There are still six tough games left in the Premier League and we can’t control what Chelsea do now” Kane added.

The England international ended: “We just have to win as many as we can and it starts Wednesday with a tough game away at Palace.”

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Nemanja Matic put his thoughts on his last stunning goal which secured Chelsea a 4-2 win against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley. “It is great when you have the chance to play in this stadium, – the Serbia international claimed – It is amazing and for our supporters you can see it is something special, and we will have the chance to win this trophy which is very important. It is something special for every club in England and I am very happy I will have the opportunity to play”.

“I think this win is going to give us more confidence of course, it is always good when you win a game, but the next game we have on Tuesday so we have to recover very quick to be ready for that, so the next game for me is the most important in the season”.

The one in the FA Cup Semifinal was Matic’s first goal of the season, a stunning strike from outside the penalty area:I am happy for my goal, it was a nice goal. I am very happy for the team because we are going to play a final” he added.

“This game was so hard against a very good team. Spurs to the end they didn’t give up, they are a great team and that is why we are happy”.

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Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic scored a stunning goal which sealed a 4-2 win in the FA Cup Semifinal against Tottenham Hotspur last evening.

His teammate Kurt Zouma had a funny reaction while celebrating the Serbia international’s goal, with only 5 minutes left to go.

“I thought then that it was a goal, – Matic himself told Chelsea’s official website – But the most important is that we win the game. But I am happy for my goal, it was a nice goal”.

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Everton manager Ronald Koeman is aware of the difference between Everton and Premier League leaders Chelsea, with also Tottenham Hotspur included.

Speaking about his side’s chances to reach Arsenal and Manchester United until the end of season, Koeman said: “We know they are not teams like Tottenham and Chelsea who don’t lose any games. No, they are different”.

“They have one or two more games to play than us but they have difficult fixtures, – Koeman continued – “Manchester United are still in the Europa League and this weekend Arsenal have the semi-final of the FA Cup”.

 

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Nathan Ake in action with Chelsea last season © Francesca Ceciarini

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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Chelsea defender Gary Cahill is a doubt for FA Cup semifinal against Spurs after spending two nights in hospital with mysterious illness, Matt Law from The Indipendent reports tonight.

“It is understood Cahill was admitted to hospital on Tuesday after training and was only released on Thursday, following treatment and tests, putting his participation in the semi-final tie in doubt,” Law writes in his exclusive report.

“Cahill first started to feel ill on Monday, the day after playing in Chelsea’s Premier League defeat to Manchester United in which Conte’s plans had been hit by illness and injury” he continues.

Marcos Alonso missed the United game with a stomach bug that Diego Costa and Victor Moses played with, while goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois injured his ankle in a basketball promotional shoot.

The English centre-back could be replaced by Kurt Zouma or John Terry, should he fail to recover before Saturday.

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Chelsea will defeat Tottenham 2-1 on Saturday: this is Paul Merson’s prediction ahead of the Fa Cup semifinal at Wembley.

“Looking at this match from a psychological point of view in terms of the title race, it’s bigger for Chelsea than Tottenham,” – Merson told the Sky Sports website. – “If they lose this after the defeat at Manchester United, then the doubts will really start creeping in. Tottenham have been steamrollering teams in recent weeks but they have not had a serious test since Gent and Liverpool before that. Chelsea will want to produce a response and they should edge a close one”.

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Both Chelsea and Tottenham have injury issues related to their goalkeepers before the Fa Cup semifinal which will be played on Saturday at Wembley.

After Thibaut Courtois ankle problems, Asmir Begovic is likely to start for The Blues, while, for The Spurs, Michel Vorm will not be fit, so it will be Hugo Lloris who will be included in the Starting XI.

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