Tag Archives: Antonio Conte

FA Cup: Chelsea enters semi-finals after Pedro’s extra time goal

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Pedro’s extra-time winner for Chelsea earned victory for the Blues at Leicester City and set up an FA Cup semi-final encounter against Southampton at Wembley.

Antonio Conte’s side were digging deep after being widely criticized for their midweek Champions League defeat in FC Barcelona to keep their hopes of silverware alive as they survived an attacking assault from The Foxes.

However, the Blues drew first blood through Alvaro Morata when the Spanish forward took Willian’s pass in his stride to beat Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel in composed fashion to give Chelsea the advantage just before half-time.

Still, the Foxes were able to get their equalizer when Jamie Vardy made amends for a poor headed miss when he pounced in a goalmouth scramble for a 76th minute equaliser.

The decisive moment then came just just before the interval in extra time when Chelsea substitute Pedro beat the onrushing Schmeichel to N’Golo Kante’s cross and headed in the winner.

“t was a tough game but we knew this,” Conte said after the game. “The last game at home [a 0-0 draw in January] we suffered a lot against Leicester.”

“We must be pleased. I saw a good performance and great character from my team. After the game in the Champions League, when we spent a lot of energy, they showed good heart to beat Leicester.”

Chelsea will play Southampton — who reached the last four by beating Wigan earlier on Sunday, while Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, who won their respective quarter-finals on Saturday, will contest the other tie.

FA Cup quarter final results:

Swansea City 0 : 3 Tottenham

Wigan Athletic 0 : 2 Southampton

Man United 2 : 0 Brighton

Leicester City 1 : 2 Chelsea

Antonio Conte: Lionel Messi made the difference for Barca

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Chelsea coach Antonio Conte believed that Lionel Messi made the difference for FC Barcelona as the Catalan team knocked the Blues out of the Champions League with 3-0 home win (4-1 on aggregate).

After a 1-1 draw in the first leg, Conte saw his team fell behind after just 128 seconds as Messi shot through the legs of Thibaut Courtois from a tight angle.

The Argentine then set up Ousmane Dembele to hammer home, before collecting his 100th Champions League goal — after a mistake by Cesar Azpilicueta — took the hosts out of sight.

Marcos Alonso, who nearly scored with a free-kick was then denied a penalty after a challenge by Gerard Pique as Barcelona joined La Liga rivals Real Madrid and Sevilla in Friday’s quarter-final draw.

Conte, who sought out Messi at the final whistle to express admiration at his display as they made their , said: “I have to praise the commitment of my players, and be proud because they gave everything. But Messi made the difference and, when you have the opportunity to make a great compliment to Messi, it’s right to praise a super, super, super top player.”

“A player who is able to score 60 goals in every season. Not only for one season. We are talking about an extraordinary player, the best in the world.”

The former Italian International coach also believed that his team was also unfortunate to exit the Champions League after striking the woodwork four times in the two legs.

“We were a bit unlucky because we created many chances to score,” he added. “I think there was a penalty on Marcos Alonso [after a challenge from Gerard Piqué] at the start of the second half and, if you make it 2-1, you can put a bit of pressure on Barcelona. At the end, I repeat: I must be pleased with the commitment of my players. I saw great work from my players.”

Lingard header seals victory for United over Chelsea at Old Trafford

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Manchester United sealed a vital 2-1 victory to move back into second place in the Premier League after substitute Jesse Lingard headed in his team’s winner against top-four rivals Chelsea at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils had fell behind after Willian started and finished a flowing move to give the visitors the lead in the first half, but United pulled level before the break, with striker Romelu Lukaku getting in front of Marcos Alonso to score against his former club for the first time.

Lukaku, facing the club he played for between 2011 and 2014, also had a flying volley superbly saved by Thibaut Courtois, but he registered himself in the game once more as he sets up Lingard to head home with 15 minutes left, after which Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata had a goal incorrectly disallowed for offside.

The Blues had also went close to taking the lead at Old Trafford after just four minutes, when Morata ran on to Alonso’s brilliant volleyed cross, but his shot hit the bar.

The defeat left the Blues in fifth place after Tottenham beat Crystal Palace 1-0 earlier on Sunday. Their run of just one win in their past four league matches, coupled with Spurs’ 10-game unbeaten streak, means they are out of the Champions League places with 10 games remaining.

Another match focus had been the coaches of both sides: Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte. Both entered the match after having fallen out because of a war of words earlier in the season, but they were seen shaking hands before and after and shared a smile during the game.

However, Conte, the Chelsea manager admitted that the defending Premier League champions might again finish outside the top four following defeat at Manchester United on Sunday.

“This could be our position, for sure,” he said. “In this league to find a place in Champions League is not simple. This is the risk – we must be ready to fight and be ready to understand this, to be concentrated and to understand that this target is an important target for us but it won’t be easy.”

On the other hand, Mourinho celebrated what he described as a crucial victory for his side.

“We start the game with three points difference with Chelsea and we could finish with the same points or six points difference and it was important for us to open that gap a little bit,” he said.

“I’m really happy, we had a great attitude too. We have four fantastic matches at home, Chelsea, Liverpool, Sevilla and Brighton knockout, and it’s a good way to start this run with a crucial victory, it gives us a little more confidence.”

Antonio Conte: VAR made ‘big mistake’ over Alvaro Morata dive call

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Antonio Conte said that the video assistant referee Mike Jones made “big, big mistake” after opting not to flag up a potential penalty and instead sent off Alvaro Morata in Chelsea’s third round replay victory over Norwich City.

The hosts, who won on penalties, were down to nine men following the dismissals of Pedro and Morata who were both shown one of their two yellow cards for diving.

Conte, who watched a replay of that challenge and was insistent it should have resulted in a penalty, saying that the VAR apparently decided no clear and obvious error had occurred.

“If we want to use a new system, I can’t accept a big mistake,” Conte said. “In this case, the Willian penalty was a big, big mistake. Not from the referee on the pitch, who took quickly a decision to book Willian and didn’t have any doubt, but from the person watching the game [Jones]. I hope the VAR wasn’t a referee because if you see that watching on television and don’t think that’s a penalty … he has to improve. It was very clear.”

“At least to avoid a big mistake, [the VAR has] to call the referee and tell him: ‘Look, maybe this situation there is a doubt. For me it’s no penalty, but it’s better you go and watch it, and then take the final decision.’ We need to improve if we want to use this new system. We have to wait to check with the person who is watching the game and then, if this person is sure 100% that it is simulation, go and book Willian.”

“About Pedro, if there is a dive it’s right to take a yellow card. It’s the same for Morata. I don’t want an advantage, especially if you know this system is being used. You can watch every situation with this situation. If someone gives a punch or an elbow, you must pay great attention. In this case, if it wasn’t a penalty, it was right to give a yellow card.”

“For sure, I’m not happy for the second yellow card for Morata. The first yellow card was for a doubtful situation — I didn’t watch Morata’s situation yet — but the second was for dissent. You must pay great attention. In this moment of the game you have to pay great attention to stay calm and make the best decision.”