Antonio Conte press conference: Chelsea boss on Spurs line-up, Oxlade-Chamberlain and more

Chelsea will be looking to bounce back from their shock defeat to Burnley last weekend, and there would be no better place to do it than at Wembley against rivals Tottenham.

And there was much for Conte to discuss today – with team selection against Tottenham set to be tough because of injuries, suspensions and much more.

The boss has, however, confirmed that Tiemoue Bakayoko will be in contention for the weekend to make his Chelsea debut.

Skipper Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas are both out after their red cards last weekend, and the game may come too soon for Eden Hazard, but Victor Moses should return at right-wingback.

Elsewhere, the summer transfer window is still open, with Chelsea reportedly looking to make several more signings – will Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Leicester’s Danny Drinkwater be arriving at Stamford Bridge?

And, of course, Diego Costa was brought up too..

How is the squad for Spurs?

“You know very well our situation after these two red cards. We are preparing very well for this game and must be focused on the pitch, on the game and try to do our best to not find an excuse. Only focus on the game. It can happen to receive two red cards, they miss the next game but a club like Chelsea must be ready for this situation.”

Squad down to bare bones?

“I am not worried about this. For sure at this moment it is not simple, not easy, but we must be strong to face this situation. I repeat it is important not to find an excuse or alibi about this moment. It’s important to continue to work, everyone give 150 per cent and then we can solve the situation.”

Hazard, Bakayoko and Pedro?

“Hazard is improving, but to be fully fit he needs time we must have patience with him and do the best for him.

“About Bakayoko, he is improving very well he is not at the top of physical condition. But i think he can be in contention for the game, because I don’t have another midfielder available.

“Pedro has trained with us today, he felt pain in his ankle. I don’t know if he is available on the bench.

“Bakayoko, his situation is not easy at the moment, this situation could force me to make a different decision. At this moment some players don’t have 100 per cent of their physical condition. Also Morata is another player to continue to work to improve. We have to face the right solution, I have to face a difficult decision. Bakayoko could be in contention for the game against Tottenham, why not?”

Costa, like a criminal, are you in touch with him?
[Conte laughs a lot] “It’s great, it’s great. I prefer to laugh. I can tell you that everyone knows at Chelsea what happened with him last season. It is funny this interview.”

Would you play Costa?

“I am not interested in continuing this issue. It is the past. [press officer] The club’s position is clear, as a Chelsea player we think he should be back to training.”

Are you surprised Spurs haven’t bought?

“I think Tottenham are doing a great job in this year, Pochettino is doing a great job. He has created a good base, foundation for his club. We must do the same, because now we don’t have these bases or foundation.

“We must work a lot, we must work hard and we must try to do the same. I have great respect for Tottenham, for me they are doing a fantastic job.

“They are challenging for the title the last two years. When you work very well you have this type of result. I have great respect for their job, I want to help my club to build the same solid foundation, same base, we don’t have this.

“We need time to work, to improve to create this base. I thought this season would be difficult for us, we started against the process, we lost a lot of strong players that built a strong bases. John Terry, Mikel, Ivanovic about Drogba, we lost a lot of players in the last few years and now we need to find the right way to build.

“Also it’s right to know we must have patience to build something for important for the present and for the future. We have to work very hard to try to improve our squad.”

Confident you’ll get what you need?

“I think that my task is to work with my players, to improve my team and players. This is my task, I know that the club is working to try to do the best in the transfer market.

“I have to continue with my players, to be focused on the pitch to try to improve the team. Then at the end of the transfer market then we will see what happens, but in both cases I will be very happy.”

Morata and Batshuayi together?

“I think everything is possible, but then I have to think that there is a game, the game has 95 minutes and I must have the possibility to change the game, with different options. At the moment it is very difficult to do this. I have to try to think to bring on the bench the possibility to change the game.”

Concerned by depth?

“I am concerned, but only am I worried when you try to put the players very soon, the risk to have an injury is high. That is my worry. The physical condition might not be 100 per cent but we have to face this situation and in this case we have to take some risks.”

Surprised by the change at Chelsea?

“No, I am not surprised. I knew very well this season would be very difficult for us. Last season we won the league, reached the final of the FA Cup with only 13 regular players.

“Also last season we struggled a lot, we worked very well, we were lucky to not have injuries, this season we have lost two players, now we have to try to continue to work with this basis.

“There wasn’t this basis, now the most important thing for me the club knows this. I was very clear with the club. We are ready to fight with all our strength to face this difficult situation, don’t find excuse or alibi. We must work, work, work to have a good present and I hope a good future.”

Biggest challenge of your career?

“My career has not been easy, I never found an easy situation. This is my story and sometimes I have tried to find this type of situation. In the past never was the situation easy for me, but I am ready to work and I like this word, this word this verb. I use it a lot and last season through that we won the title.”

Confident right solution in midfield?

“I am studying different options and then I have to find the best solution. I can put also a goalkeeper in midfield and this is a solution (jokes), that is an option.

“I have to study the best option, to find the right player, to find the right characteristics to play in this role. I am not worried about this, I tried to transfer this concept also to my players. I am sure we are ready to have a good game against Tottenham.”

Luiz in midfield?

“In the past he played in the midfield, in the past honestly I prefer him to play central defence. We are trying to find a different solution that will work. David is a player available to play in different positions, it is a pleasure to have this sort of player. Imagine if you had a player who told you no, no I only want to play in this role.”

How much work will it be in bringing players in?

“To build a foundation you must do it with the players, and then work with them.”

How much work will it be in bringing players in?

“To build a foundation you must do it with the players, and then work with them.”

Andreas Christensen, impressed by him?

“I trust him, I told before he is a player ready to play for Chelsea. I trust Christensen. Last week, he played a good game, he showed a great personality, he can improve a lot. For sure he is a good prospect to be a Chelsea player. He had good experience with two years with Borussia Monchengladbach and now he is ready to stay with us.”

Young players given an opportunity?

“I utilised in different young players last season, Chalobah, Loftus-Cheek. For a club like Chelsea, if I have players ready to play for Chelsea I am the first person to be happy. It is right for the players to progress.”

Reassure fans to find the right solution?

“I can tell the only thing that we are working very hard to try to do the best for the club. Football is not good to try to create the illusion. The only words thought that I can tell our fans is that we are working very hard for the players to have a good season. You know very well there are situations that you can’t control.”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*