Antonio Conte doubts Chelsea will have advantage over Barcelona

Antonio Conte

 

Antonio Conte says Chelsea’s Friday night fixture will not have an advantage in the Champions League game because they will also be playing against tough competitors between the two legs against Barcelona.

Conte will play against Manchester United on February 25 and will be followed by a game against Manchester City on March 4.

“I think to play of Friday is good for us,” Conte said.

“Three days to try and prepare the game against Barcelona.

“At the same time, between these fames, we have two strong games in the league: Manchester United and Manchester City, both away.

“If we were lucky to play on Friday, we were very unlucky to have this schedule between the two Barcelona games.

“This schedule is not very interesting for us. Maybe it is for someone else. I hope for no replay (against Hull). We had one against Norwich, but I hope to try and win this game and go through without a replay.”

Chelsea suffered humiliating defeat by Watford and it was the worst said Rooney

Antonio Conte Chelsea vs Watford

 

Chelsea suffered a humiliating defeat by Watford FC and Wayne Rooney said that Chelsea’s display at Vicarage Road on Monday was their worst he has seen them “for a long, long time.”

Antonio Conte’s side suffered a 4-1 lost which leaves Chelsea 19 points behind Manchester City and the manager’s job may be in danger.

The Italian manager has been in a war of words with the Chelsea board and Rooney suggested the club’s off-field issues could be having an impact on results.

“You’d like to think the problems with the board aren’t affecting players but that is not Chelsea,” Rooney said after the game.

“That is as bad a Chelsea performance I’ve seen for a long, long time.

“Chelsea are usually a clever team, tough to beat, you have to take your chances against them and they manage the game well. But tonight Watford were getting through so easily.’

“There’s a good chance he (Conte) could go before next MNF (Monday Night Football) because of Chelsea’s history of changing managers when they fear they won’t make the Champions League,’ he said.

“Conte said before he wants the owner and board to back him but Roman Abramovich hasn’t said anything since owning the club and it certainly won’t happen after tonight.

‘They’ve been found wanting – to lose 3-0 to Bournemouth and 4-1 to Watford is a shambles.

“Watford were by far the better team when it was 11v11. Chelsea never looked like scoring in the second half.

“It is nothing you associate with Conte teams. Is there discord between the manager and the players?”

 

Antonio Conte defends himself and says he is not over-working his players

Antonio Conte

 

Antonio Conte dismisses accusations that he is over-working his players as he pointed the relatively low number of Chelsea players who are injured.

The Italian boss will also have a difficult selection during their Watford game tonight as Alvaro Morata will not be able to play and new signee Olivier Giroud is not yet ready.

Chelsea have four players out compared to the 19 Premier League clubs that have more absentees.

“If you compare to the other clubs, we have fewer injuries,” Conte argued.

“The only problem is that, this season, we are playing a lot and our squad wasn’t big enough to give them the right rest. We are working less, less than last season. A lot less.

“But, for sure, you have to change your plan, your work. When you play every three days, it’s impossible to give intensity in these two days between one game and another.

“Sometimes, when I had the possibility, I tried to give the opportunity… a little window of work for the players I decided to rest. But, in this country, with a lot of competitions – four competitions, and with the intensity of every game – you have to face a season with a big squad. This is very, very important.

“I think it’s very important to try to understand and find the best solution for the future.”

Antonio Conte

 

When asked how long it would take Chelsea back to the top as they are 18 points off Manchester City.

“I don’t know this. Also because you can see the other teams are working very hard, very strong to improve their squads. It’s not simple, not simple. I think a club like Chelsea must have more patience than other teams.

“If you compare it to the past, the situation has totally changed. Yes. But especially for this reason, you have to understand that only through great work, big work, can you go and try to be closer to these teams who maybe don’t have this type of financial problems.

“In this case, the value of the coach is important. We have a lot of young players. Our average age is very low now, don’t forget.

“Whoever knows football understands very well that, now, we need a lot of patience, to understand a new situation and not complain, but only be realistic. And be strong and to work, work, work. Only through work can you solve problems. Not by complaining or just by buying.”

Antonio Conte says he has full faith in Chelsea’s plans

Antonio Conte

 

Chelsea were beaten by the Arsenal squad and finally stopped them in their EFL Cup semi-final lead where they were eliminated.

As the Premier League seemingly out of reach as well as the Champions League, nerves may be frayed at Stamford Bridge, but Conte is retaining faith.

“When the squad is not big you have to always play with the same players,” he said.

“I made a lot of rotations this season. We reached the semi-final and if you see before who played in this competition, we played with young players.

“ I have to do the same in the FA Cup, but then you risk going out. Against Norwich, we risked this.

“But it is not right to take only one game to make a decision to understand. There is a programme and a plan.

“It’s wrong we have to make decisions only on one game. The situation has always been the same since the summer. I continue to work and I’m very happy with my players.

“I continue to give everything for the club and the club makes the best decisions for the team.”

The Blues are currently third in the Premier League and will battle Newcastle on Sunday for a fourth place on the FA Cup.

 

Antonio Conte reluctant to consider Alexis Sanchez joining Chelsea

Alexis Sanchez

 

Alexis Sanchez is out of contract with Arsenal this summer and big Premier League clubs are keen on having him which includes Manchester City, Manchester United and probably Chelsea.

City have already ended their interest with the player because of the high cost, which leaves United to be in the lead position to take the player. Chelsea, on the other hand, are reportedly entering the bidding.

Antonio Conte has also spoken good things about Sanchez and described any potential cut-price deal for the striker is a great opportunity.

Antonio Conte

However, the Chelsea boss has put down all rumours to the bidding of Sanchez as false. When asked if the Premier League champions were active to sign Sanchez, he said: “I don’t know, but I don’t think so.”

Conte also said that any move for the 29-year-old striker would be hypothetical.

“I like to talk about situations that could be real. This is not important to talk about Sanchez. Because he’s not our good problem, so why do I have to waste words for nothing?”

David Luiz and Danny Drinkwater will not play against West Ham on Sunday

Antonio Conte

 

Chelsea will travel across the capital for a London derby against West ham with the exemption of David Luiz and Danny Drinkwater as Antonio Conte confirmed that they will miss the game.

With West Ham’s new boss David Moyes, Conte also acknowledged their opponent’s potential.

“They have a lot of good players with great talent,” Conte said.

“It’s a bit strange to see them in this position in the table.

“They have potential to do better – I hope not tomorrow.

“But this team is a really good team with good players. It won’t be easy against West Ham.

“It’s a London derby and we must pay great attention. I saw Manchester City struggle a lot to win against West Ham.”

 

Antonio Conte fears no one ahead of a potential second-round against PSG or Barcelona

Chelsea may soon face PSG or Barcelona again but Antonio Conte insists that they do no fear no-one.

Antonio Conte

 

The Premier League holders have been beaten by PSG out of the Champions League on the last two occasions they took part in the game.

But Conte insisted that their opponents will not be glad to play with them.

“Our opponents won’t be happy to play against us. We’ll see what happens.

“I remember during the European Championship with the national team we finished first in our group and played against Spain, then Germany and, if we’d beaten Germany, we’d have had to play France.

“Sometimes it’s not so important (to finish first). We reached the next round and we must be happy with this. After a performance like this, the coach must be (happy).”

“When you go through to the next round in this competition, you must be prepared to face the best teams.

“We could play against Barcelona, PSG or Besiktas, but we must be ready. This is the best tournament. That’s why you want to go through and try and be a protagonist in this tournament.”

Antonio Conte hailed his players against Watford

Antonio Conte

 

Antonio Conte is a happy man as his players gave an excellent comeback against Watford.

Conte hailed his Chelsea players as they showed a desire to fight and battle back Watford with a six-goal thriller.

The Premier League champions have moved above Watford into fourth on the table as they scored three times in the final 20 minutes.

Conte was very excited with this win as they have been in back-to-back top-flight defeats also with Roma in the Champions League in midweek.

Antonio Conte
Antonio Conte excited over their win against Watford.

 

“I think it was a good performance,” he told Sky Sports. “It’s not simple to concede at the last minute of the first half and then go down at the start of the second half. I think, at the moment, our confidence was low.

“But my players showed me great desire to fight, to change the situation and the final result. We are facing a difficult situation but the spirit is right. Now we will try to recover quickly.

“We played against a team in a good moment of form. They were above us on the table. To come back for this result is not simple — we’ve played three games in seven days.”

 

Chelsea ready to replace Michy Batshuayi; Everton could swoop him in January

Michy Batshuayi

 

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte looks like he has finally lost patience with Michy Batshuayi after his poor performance during their 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace.

No one expected that Chelsea would lose to Palace as the latter had not won a single match since the start of the Premier League.

Antonio Conte felt that Batshuayi has not really delivered as he has not scored a goal during their five outings in the Premier League.

Batshuayi was taken off in the 57th minute at Selhurst Park and could be seen that he was frustrated after failing to find the net. Reports indicate an angry Batshuayi but not Conte.

Conte, on the other hand, is creating a list of those he needs to let go in January and potential striker targets for the club.

Conte may place Batshuay on loan and it looks like Everton are interested in getting him since they are known to have had great success when recruiting forwards on temporary deals from the Blues in the past.

 

Chelsea eyeing Juventus star Alex Sandro and Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez to stop Conte from moving

Antonio Conte

 

Chelsea are concern of Antonio Conte as he did not sign his extended three-year contract this summer as he is continually being linked with AC Milan. To fight a possible move of Conte, Chelsea are eyeing two big stars that may make the boss stay where he is.

Conte is into the second year of his three-year deal with the Blues, but instead of getting an extension with the club, he opted for a big pay-rise.

It is also known that Conte have been frustrated at not getting his target players during the summer transfer window and would have quit if not just for the financial penalty clause.

Chelsea want to make sure that Conte will have enough great players to fight title rivals Manchester City and Manchester United and also match European football’s finest in the Champions League.

Despite Juventus rejection to sell the 26-year-old Sandro, Chelsea will still fight for the player to ensure Conte will be able to strengthen his squad in the second half of the season.

Chelsea could also bid for Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez who only have six months remaining with his current club.

The Gunners will consider selling Sanchez even for a cut-price instead of losing him as a free agent next summer.