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Further good news for Chelsea as Blues will play in the Champions League next season after both Arsenal and Manchester United were held to draws against Brighton and Huddersfield earlier on Sunday.

Maurizio Sarri completes a massive turnaround, having been 6th on the league table at some point before climbing up the table, despite some huge defeats.

Chelsea have still to face the second-tie of Europa League semi-finals against Eintracht (at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night) after getting a vital away 1-1 draw in Frankfurt last time out. More positive news to come?

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Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri had his say ahead of tomorrow’s Europa League clash against Videoton at Stamford Bridge.

The Italian has confirmed he will make at least five changes in the starting line-up as the Blues will face Southampton on Sunday afternoon at home.

Speaking at a press conference Sarri said: “I don’t think that in West Ham we didn’t win because of the match in Greece. We changed a lot of players so I don’t think the reason was that. Of course tomorrow we need to change some players because we have spent a lot of mental and physical energy in two matches against Liverpool.

Then we have to play a match again in 62 hours [against Southampton] so tomorrow we need to chage. I don’t know how many players but we need to change. I have to change five, six or seven players. I don’t know at the moment. I want to see training in the afternoon and to see the last training tomorrow morning.”

Sarri also confirmed the qualification to the next Champions League group stage remains Chelsea’s main target as the Premier League season started properly with 5 wins and a couple of draws from 7 games. The Blues could also book a place in the competition by winning the Europa League this campaign.

“At the moment for my club it is more important to be in the Champions league. To play the Champions League is more important at the moment but I want to arrive to the end in the Europa League. We want to arrive to the end but the Europa League is a very unusual competition because we don’t know all the names of the opponents right now. In the second round eight teams will arrive from the Champions League so it is very difficult but we want to arrive at the end of the competition.”

 

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Real Madrid won their 13rd UEFA Champions League after beating Reds in Kiev last night. Loris Karius‘ gift to Karim Benzema (1-0) could have costed Liverpool the final, but Sadio Mané reached an equalizer in the 54th minute. Gareth Bale put ahead Los Blancos again with a superb finish before Karius’ failed to keep hold of another shot from the Wales international.

Former Chelsea winger Mohamed Salah limped off the pitch with a shoulder injury suffered earlier in the firs half, following a clash with Sergio Ramos.

Zinedine Zidane managed to lift the trophy for a 3rd time in a row after beating rivals Atletico Madrid and Juventus respectively in 2016 and 2017.

 

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Conte had already spoke during his conference after the match, yesterday night before kick off, several Chelsea supporters had problem not only to enter to the stadium but also some of them were allegedly hurt by police and security outside the Nou Camp.

This allegedly violence was emerged after the match when Blues’ fans showed video footage. It would seem that several fans could were hurt and for this reason, Chelsea FC tweeted on official Twitter profile an appeal to all Chelsea’ fans:

“We ask that our supporters contact us with accounts of their experiences of this evening’s arrival at the stadium so that we can take this up properly with the authorities.'”

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After regret of defeat, another bad beating for Antonio Conte, after the match a journalist asked him which team will train at the next interview. Biting question for Italian coach who is at loggerheads with Chelsea’ board and surely this defeat isn’t a good way to improve relationship. Anyway he answered to the question saying “It’s a mean question and I prefer don’t answer”.

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After defeat against Barcelona and consequent Champions League exit, Antonio Conte declared himself proud of his guys. He analyzed the match admitting the bad beginning, also spoke about his tactic choices, about referee’s judgments considering penalty the foul on Alonso and speaking about Messi he abounded with praises.

Our start was terrible, to concede after only two minutes, but after we tried to play football and at times we dominated the game and had chances to score. Over the two legs we have hit the post four times and this is very strange. I think a fantastic player moved the final result and the qualification because in these two legs, Lionel Messi moved the final result. He scored three goals and made an assist for Dembele.

It is a pity but I must be very proud of the commitment of my players. They gave everything and we have to continue in this way, with this will to fight and desire to fight together.’

About Messi: ‘When you have the opportunity to make a great complement to Messi, it is right to recognize a super, super, super top player,’ he explained. ‘You are talking about a player who every season can score 60 goals, not just in one season. I am very pleased to have the opportunity at the end of the game to give him my complement. We are talking about an extraordinary player, the best in the world.’

About tactics choices and referee’s judgments: ‘For sure when you take this decision to play with Eden, Willian and a striker as a point of reference, you must be very good to have a great balance and not lose this balance. I saw great commitment from all the players, who wanted to play with all our potential. We were a bit unlucky over the two legs and we showed we can play in both ways. For sure in the first leg, defensively we were more compact. Tonight they scored three times but I think we did not deserve this type of result.

I think there was a penalty for Alonso and if it is 2-1 you can put a bit of pressure on Barcelona and I repeat, in the end I must be pleased with the commitment of my players. I saw great work.’

About the environment situation out of stadium before the match: ‘We are aware of reports of incidents outside the ground before the game where a number of Chelsea fans were hurt. We ask that our supporters contact us with accounts of their experiences of this evening’s arrival at the stadium so that we can take this up properly with the authorities.’

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Marcos Alonso spoke about defeat against Barcelona and consequent Champions League exit:

“We had to take advantage of our opportunities and the pole. Against this type of team it becomes hard when don’t take advantage of the opportunities you have”.

They are a great team and they also have Messi, I think maybe they were the better team even though I think we competed well in both games”

“We could have done better, if we concede these easy goals then we make our chances very difficult against this team. We knew they have top players and we cannot give them one metre because they can create and score”

“They were the better team but we were unlucky. We competed well and we have to improve. When you lose you have to keep training and get better.”

“They were not comfortable in the first half and we just missed the chances.

“It could have been 2-2 at half-time at least but it was 2-0 and in a stadium like this, against a team like this, it is not easy to come back.”

“I think we were a little bit unlucky, also, with the first two goals. We hit the post three times, we had so many chances in both games. Now we have two important matches in Premier and we want to win FA Cup”.

 

 

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Also Davide Zappacosta said his personal opinion about defeat at Camp Nou: “Of course there’s much regret because in the two games we deserved something more. Anyway they were stronger than us, Messi is very strong and Barca as team is really hard to deal with”

Conte? We are all with him, our fans, staff and players. We listen to him and try to always do what he asks”

National Team? All of us aim at calling, for me would be a proud but to make it possible it is important do well with my club. The coach came also to visit us but I don’t now anything about an eventually call”

FA Cup is a goal but we also want return in Champions League places”

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Former Barcelona captain Carles Puyol has expressed his opinion about Champions League clash between Barcelona v Chelsea:

 “After the first leg, I think Barcelona are the favourites but you can’t be sure. Chelsea have shown that they are a very organised team with clear ideas about how they want to play and players up front who are very dangerous and very quick. They can hurt you a lot on the counter-attack, so Barcelona will have to put in a serious performance and try to score a goal because if they don’t Chelsea could hurt them on the counter”.

The Barca’ legend also spoke about Eden Hazard, Alvaro Morata and about former teammate Lionel Messi.

Praise for Messi:

“For me, Messi is the best player in the world and in history. It’s impressive what he’s doing every year at an exceptionally high level, breaking records, getting better and better in more aspects of his game”.

About Belgian star said:

“He’s an incredible player” but he doesn’t think possible yet make comparisons with Messi: “To compare him with Messi or Ronaldo is difficult, I don’t think he’s at their level yet, but Eden Hazard is a fantastic player. He’s a player who makes the difference and has plenty of time to grow”.

About Morata he added:

“I think he’s a very good player, he has scored goals. He has had back problems but he is a dangerous player. He is powerful. He could do damage to Barcelona. I don’t know what his physical condition is – whether he is at 100 per cent – but he is an important player and Chelsea are missing him”.

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Eden Hazard © Francesca Ceciarini

The full Guus Hiddink press conference ahead of PSG clash at Parc des Princes.

He started speaking about Terry’s injury:

“Well, it was not a decision made by me.He was having too much trouble to travel. We made a test this morning and it didn’t work out well, so the decision was made to leave him at home. He was, himself, also convinced he could not be of worth to the team at the moment.

“He has a bit of a problem on his hamstring and on the tendon in that area. That’s why we had the test this morning and we decided he would not participate. It will be difficult to say whether he can play this weekend. That’s why we’d prefer him to keep undergoing treatment back at Cobham.

“We’ve practised with other people in at central defence, so it was not a surprise for the players that we had to make some changes. Of course, not having John is a bit of a setback. He’s a leader. But I’m not the type of coach to moan and moan. We have to go on. The players who will replace him I have complete faith in them.”

To win the Champions League is the only way Chelsea has to access this competition next year, since the 4th spot is very difficult to reach:

“No, it’s about winning the Champions League, not looking just to get back into it next year.

“You have so many good teams, though, it’s very difficult. It’s beautiful to win a big, big cup.

“We are growing. Everyone knows the situation of Chelsea in recent months and weeks. We have, step by step, tried to establish more security in the team. To play with the quality of players we have.

“We are not quite where we’d like to be. We’d like to have an array of games where you’ve imposed the way you like to play. We’ve tried to do that step by step. But to give even more security, you need a number of games won where you’ve controlled and been dominant.”

On Oscar, that missed last Saturday game against Newcastle due to a little calf injury Hiddink said:

“He had good training session this morning and will be available.” Adding that next weekend probably he will be able to select Pato.

Hiddink also spoke about Eden Hazard, a possible starter tomorrow night at Parc des Princes:

“I think he had a difficult period when he had some injuries, we started to bring him back and his first game at Crystal Palace he got another injury.

“If a player gets a setback twice, it’s difficult to come back. But now, in recent weeks, he’s trained very well. He came on for 10 minutes and 20 minutes, and played the last match in full. He needs rhythm of the games, but I’m sure he’ll be of great value for us.”

The fact that in the past two years both contests between the two sides have been decided by away goals suggests another tight contest awaits.

It’s 50-50. If you see where we are now and where PSG are now, they are building a very strong team and dominating the French league completely. They are 24 points ahead, and are focusing to get this Champions League. A big club has to win the Champions League

“The league didn’t start well for us this year, and we’ve had some recovery from December up to now, but we’re desperate to get into the next round of the Champions League.

“It’s a big test for us to get into the next round and I hope we can do something to swing it to our advantage.”

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