Chelsea boss Antonio Conte claims Old Trafford clash against Manchester United is a game like another one in this title race, where the Blues could get crucial three points.
First of all, the Italian manager revealed he’s a couple of injury concerns:
“I’ve got no injury for this game, just I couple of situations we must value, of course I cannot say which ones.”
Conte was asked what does he think about Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante making the shortlist for PFA Player of the Year award:
“It’s great for them to be in the shortlist for the best player of the year, it’s important for them but the most important thing for the team, it means we did a good job.°
Asked which of the two Chelsea players desevers to win the award more, he replied:
“I don’t like to make a choice with my players, I think it’s not fair, they are having a good season, all my players are having a great season and they deserve the best. I’m pleased because it’s a fight among my players, I want to see who is the winner.
Conte also recalled the only time he visited the Theathre of Dreams against Manchester United ( he played also a Champions League final there with Juventus, against AC Milan, with the Rossoneri winning at the penalties) in 1999 when he played a Champions League semifinal with Juventus, scoring also the goal that gave his team the temporary lead:
“I played a semifinal at Old Trafford, I scored and then Ryan Giggs equalised at last, then we lost 3-2 in Turin and they won the Champions League.
Speaking about Sunday’s clash, he said:
“I think this game is like another game, the most important thing for us is the 3 points, we face a really strong team, they are very good technically, we have to pay great attention. I think both United and Chelsea will put both their best team to try to win the game.”
Asked if he would steal any player from Man United squad, he said:
“I think my players are the best in the world, they got a lot of good players, top players°
Red Devils star Zlatan Ibrahimvoic claimed he’s like Benjamin Button, meaning he’s getting better while growing older and Conte said the Swedish striker was right:
“I agree, I’ve always told this, he’s in the top of his form, his career. He plays for the team, it’s always good to have this kind of players, he plays a lot for the team, for me he’s one of best players in the world.
On rumours about Lukaku returning to Chelsea next summer, with Didier Drogba claiming the Belgian forward wants to prove himself successful at Stamford Bridge, he replied:
“It’s not the correct time to speak about this, I have great respect for Didier because he’s a legend for Chelsea, I can’t talk about this because we always need to respect the tema, the club the players.
It seemed Eden Hazard was targeted by Manchester United players in the FA Cup quarter final at Stamford Bridge one month ago, asked he will prepare something special to prevent this he said:
“It’s very difficult to prepare this kind of situation, we prepare the game on the tactical aspect, we are trying to find the best solution, the situation can be very tough for both teams. I haven’t prepared nothing.
Manchester United played last night in Bruxelles in Europa League quarter finals against Anderlecht and Conte was asked if this could be an advantage for Chelsea:
“In this part of the season is very difficult to understand when ti’s the right moment to play with one team or another.
Any plan on how to stop Ibrahimovic?
“We must have a good defensive organisation, when he attacks the ball he’s very dangerous, and also when he receives the ball, my players must play great attention and concentration to stop him.
Any unsettled conflict with Mourinho?
“It’s a football match, not me against him, we both want to try to win, it’s normal there are conflicts during the game, but it’s just sport thing, just game conflicts.
It’s common opinion that not being involved in European competitions during this season was a big advantage for Chelsea:
“I’ve been hearing this story since I was Juventus coach in my fist season, but Liverpool are in our same situation, for sure we have more time to work with the team, it’s important because it’s my first season here, but if you think this is the only reason why we’re in the top of the table, this si a great mistake. I prefer to play Champions League.
After his last visit to Stamford Bridge José Mourinho stated that until someone will win four Premier League titles he will still be the N.1 manager in Chelsea history:
“Which was my reaction to this statement of his? Nothing. He won a lot with this team, this club have always showed him great respect for his past, I said the same before and this doesn’t change, I have a great respect for him.
“The game at Old Trafford is important for us because we would get 3 points that are really important in the title race, after this game we have other 18 points to get, for us it will be very important.
AC Milan was sold to Chinese investors yesterday and an Italian journalist asked a comment about this:
“It’s very difficult to reply this question because you know better than me that Berlusconi was a great owner for Milan, they won a lot in Italy, Europe and in the world, another era is starting with this group, they paid a lot to buy Milan, so I hope they will do good.
And when asked about Inter kinks, again he replied:
“Rumours about Inter are just rumours, they are old.”