Chelsea boss Antonio Conte was asked about a number of issues at his media conference ahead of Saturday’s game with Tottenham. Here’s some of what he had to say.
On Terry and Mikel
“For tomorrow, not available are John Terry and [John] Obi Mikel. John [Terry] has a muscular problem in his gluteus – Obi is recovering from a muscular problem and in the next week will train with us.”
On Terry’s new injury
“I don’t know, maybe two, three weeks. I’m not sure if the injury was during the Under-23s game or the day after. But it’s not important [when it happened], the bad news is that he’s injured.
“Now it’s important for John to recover and then to restart with a good training session and to have a good form.
“It’s a pity because he recovered very well from his last injury and now he needs to stop again.”
On last season’s stormy game against Spurs, when 12 players were booked.
“I watched the game. [It was] a very strange game. In the first half, Tottenham played very well and scored two goals. In the second half there was another game and Chelsea scored two goals.
“I think during a game it can happen to put more passion into the game. But now it’s important to think in the present, to play good football and to deserve to win the game, these are the most important things for me.
“It is right to put your passion [into the game] but in the right way, not in a bad way.
“Our behaviours, our attitude must be always perfect. It’s logical that every single manager has different vision, different attitude and behaviours during the game but it’s important to always respect your players, the opponents’ players, your fans and the other fans.
“I think we will see a good game with two good teams.”
On his admiration for Spurs
“For sure this game will be very tough against a strong opponent that last season fought until the end to win the title.
“Tottenham has a great manager, a lot of talented players, very young, and I think that in the squad they have improved compared to last season. For this reason, we have to pay great attention in this type of tricky game.
“I am pushing my players to be focused but I think they are ready. They must be very focused because the game is very tough.
“Tottenham can create great difficulty for every team in this league. For me, they are a very strong team and can fight until the end to win the title.
On reports Barcelona want Victor Moses
“I like to think my players are focused on the present and not looking to the future, so long-term.
“We have just won six games in a row and it is important now to continue this, to be focused to work, to think in the present and not to look at the future.For everything, there is the right time to speak.”
On Steven Gerrard
“Steven Gerrard was a fantastic player, a legend for Liverpool and for the national team. I have great respect for him. It’s logical when a great player decides to retire we are all a bit sad.”
On Tottenham’s mood following their Champions League exit
“I think that every game is different. After the defeat against Bayer Leverkusen, Tottenham played a very good game against Arsenal away and drew 1-1.
“For this reason, we have to know that we have a tough game against a strong team. Last game [against Monaco] was a bad result for Tottenham but tomorrow will be another game. This is a special derby for both the teams.”
“Willian has come back [following the death of his mother] and now it’s important to find a good form because in this period he was unlucky.
“But it’s important now to be focused on the work and to find continuity in the training session. Willian is an important player for us and I count a lot on him.”
On the performances of his senior players – Terry, Kurt Zouma, Cesc Fabregas and Michy Batshuayi – in the Chelsea Under 23s against Southampton
“I saw great attitude, great commitment. I like a lot this type of game, because there is great intensity, like [in] the first team. If a player asks me to play in this type of game, I’m happy.”
On the change to 3-4-3
“After this change in our system, for sure, we found more balance, defensively and offensively and for this reason it’s important to continue to work in this way.
“I see the players very happy to play in this way. It’s important to continue to work and to improve, because when you play with a system you have to work day by day to improve.”