Tag Archives: Antonio Conte

Antonio Conte to refuse any speculation before winning title

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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has reportedly refused to speculate upon his future at Stamford Bridge before his club finishes this season by winning the Premier League title.

The Blues will play West Bromwich Albion this weekend, wherein a victory for the London club would mean a first Premier League title for Conte in his first season as Chelsea boss.

But for the past week, the former Juventus and Italy coach had been called to speculate upon his future after rumours linked him with Serie A side Internazionale following the departure of coach Stefano Pioli.

Nonetheless, Conte insisted that his place right now is with the Blues — at least until they win the Premier League title.

“I have a contract for another two years with Chelsea but, for me and my players, the important thing is to be focused on the present,” Conte said.

“This moment is very important. The future is not important for any single person: me or the players. It’s normal to have a lot of speculation around players and coaches, so it’s important not to lose the concentration and be focused as we try to reach this fantastic target.”

“It’s logical that, when you start in a new club, the will is to continue and improve your work for many years. For sure this is my will. But now the most important thing is to reach our target.”

“To arrive at this moment, in this position, to have this great opportunity … we worked very hard for the whole season [for this]. Now it’s important to be ready and to try to do this step, to win and then to celebrate together.”

Should he succeed in clinching the title, Chelsea are expected to offer Conte improved terms following the team’s various successes this term and to ward off any lingering interest in his stewardship.

The Italian had been linked with a return to his home country with Internazionale in recent months, and while he denied the substantiality of most of those claims the rumours were reignited as the Serie A side sacked manager Stefano Pioli on Tuesday after six months in charge.

Viral factor behind poor Chelsea showing at Old Trafford

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The Chelsea team that had played uncharacteristically quietly at Old Trafford last weekend are believed to have been affected by virus.

The table leaders were defeated by Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United in the match between both sides last Sunday, trimming their previously insurmountable gap against second-placed Tottenham to just four points.

However, Antonio Conte’s team were believed to have been affected by a bug that theoretically had spread through the squad at a team bonding meal last Thursday evening.

A clear case of this was in Marco Alonso, who was still suffering the effects of the virus on Saturday night and, despite being named in the starting lineup at United, complained of feeling ill after the pre-match warm-up.

He was then assessed by Chelsea’s medical staff, who recommended that the player be allowed to withdraw from the match. Alonso’s absence also meant that Cesar Azpilicueta had to fill his boots while Kurt Zouma was drafted in as a right-sided full-back, which in turn caused some irregularities to the team.

Amongst other also affected by illness were Diego Costa and Victor Moses. Both were starters in the game, but Moses was withdrawn nine minutes into the second half.

As for Costa, the striker missed training at the end of last week, and although declared himself fit he struggled to make an impact at Old Trafford. Despite praise from Conte regarding his consistently high work-rate, Costa appeared hampered in the game.

As Chelsea hopes that the trio of Alonso, Costa and Moses will be fit to play in the FA Cup semi-final against Spurs this Saturday, it remains that the virus is still making its presence known with Gary Cahill reportedly ill.

Man United defeats Chelsea to reopen title race

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Manchester United has reopened the Premier League title race with a well-orchestrated 2-0 win over Premier League leaders Chelsea.

Second-placed Tottenham now trails their London rivals by four points with six games to go and a stronger goal difference.

United has lost twice away against the Blues this season, first losing 4-0 in the league and then going out of the FA Cup quarter-final at Stamford Bridge.

But Manchester United began the game on the front foot and easily got a lead as team irregular Marcus Rashford made a clinical finish just after seven minutes.

Ander Herrera, who did a brilliant man-marking job on Eden Hazard throughout the game, made the perfectly weighted pass to Rashford on the break for the opening. The Spaniard subsequently added to United’s tally by firing it in from 20 yards four minutes after half-time, with the ball taking a deflection of N’Golo Kante and wrong-footing Chelsea keeper Asmir Begovic before soaring into the net.

The result slumped Chelsea to two defeats in their past four games while Spurs continue as potential title contenders with seven consecutive league wins under their belt.

Blues coach Antonio Conte said he was the one responsible for the defeat as he had failed to get his team motivated ahead of the United game.

“We didn’t play a good game and United deserved to win the game,” Conte said. “They showed more desire, more ambition, more motivation.”

“In this case the fault is of the coach. It means the coach was not able to transfer the right concentration, desire, ambition to win this game. I have concern because we have to work together and find quickly the right ambition to win this title.”

“Tottenham is in good form and playing with enthusiasm, we must find the same.”

Antonio Conte: Chelsea’s defeat makes title race interesting

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Chelsea coach Antonio Conte said that his team’s surprise home defeat to Crystal Palace was a clear indicator that the Premier League title race is interesting again and far from over.

Chelsea held a commanding 10-point advantage on top of the Premier League against title rivals Tottenham Hotspurs before their 2-1 defeat by Palace at Stamford Bridge.

The leaders were also on a club-record 13-match winning streak at home, but it all ended thanks to a team fighting against relegation for months, with Spur’s victory at Burnley trimming Chelsea’s advantage at the top to seven points.

“For (the media) it’s a good result, because it makes this more interesting in the championship,” Conte said.

“But I always said the league finishes when you have the mathematical certainty that you won. Otherwise you must play every game to try to win because, I repeat, in England easy games do not exist. In every game here, anything can happen because the league is so strong.”

“We faced a team with strong players, very good players, and they showed they are a good team.

“But we have to think about the next game. If we had won we would have been happy, but now we must focus on Manchester City. We all know the strength of their team.”

“So we must recover and rest, and remember that in England there are no easy games. You could see that today against Crystal Palace. Every game will be very tough from now until the end. Also, if the team is Manchester City or a side fighting in the relegation zone.”

Chelsea hosts Manchester City on Wednesday with Conte now needing an immediate response from his players. Their lead on top of the table, while still imposing, could be further reduced if Tottenham wins at Swansea on the same day.