Will Kante start for Chelsea against Manchester United?
“He’s progressing well. He’s progressing well. We have also tomorrow, and then I’ll take the best decision for him and for the team. But, for sure, N’Golo is progressing well and I’m very happy for this. You know very well that we are talking about an important player.”
Can Chelsea afford to do their second half against Roma against United?
“Honestly, I think that the second half against Roma was bad in many different aspects. But I think sometimes this can happen. The most important thing is you don’t see this type of situation again.
“We played a really good first half and we were 2-0 down but, honestly, I was more worried after the first half at Stamford Bridge when we were winning 2-1 but didn’t have the control of the game.
“Instead, after the first half, I was more confident in our second half. But, instead, the second half was very negative. But now it’s the past. Now it’s important to prepare very well this game against Manchester United and try to do our best on Sunday.”
Happy at attitude of players?
“But, for sure, for sure… I’m happy. I’m happy to work with my players. For sure. Because, I repeat, the commitment is always good. This season we are struggling. We are struggling a lot because we are facing a lot of important problems. And to solve these problems is not simple.
“But I think, in this moment, you can see if you are winners or losers. You understand? This is very important, this moment. When the period is positive, it’s very simple for everyone to play well, to have great confidence.
“In this moment, when you’re struggling, it’s important to show our character. To be strong. To face the problems in the right way. But I’m used, in my life, to doing this. I struggled a lot in my life, as a player and then as a coach also. My history, my story, tells you this.”
Relationship with Mourinho
“It’s not important, the relationship between the coaches. You have to respect the job of the other coach, and then stop then. I don’t like to speak about other situations.
“I respect the job, but that stops, finish: he’s an opponent, and I’m an opponent for him. He’s an opponent, I stop, finish. I have respect for his job. He must have respect for my job.”
“I think that, now, Matic is a United player and you know very well that I don’t like to speak about other players of other teams. I do the same also in this situation. But, if you remember, I have already answered this question in the past.”
Is not playing the same side the issue?
“But, for sure, now if you see the stats, the stats speak very well. Now we are less consistent than last season. Now we are less solid than last season. But I think we have to continue to work, to try to improve.
“Then, for sure, in this period we played always with the same players and then, when you play with the same players, for sure you can lose something in some aspects. You add something in other aspects, but lose something in other.
“I think, during a season, it’s very important to make the rotation. If you think about playing with the same players, it means the players who have three games in seven days, they are very tired. They have great risk of getting injury. But modern football is this. In modern football you have to think about the rotation.”
Has Abramovich been around? Is he happy?
“Yes, Mr Abramovich was in Cobham on Sunday after the Bournemouth game to watch the training, to speak. But it’s normal, this.
“But, honestly, we spoke about the Bournemouth game and then the first game against Rome. We spoke about this.”
What do you expect from Manchester United?
“We are talking about a really good team. A strong team, physically. It will be very difficult, this type of game. It’s an important team and we must pay great attention. But we are working. We are working to prepare this game in the right way. But I think that United is a really good team.”
Can’t afford to lose the game if you want to remain in the title race?
“But I think that, now, there is a big problem for all the teams that want to fight for the title, and this big problem is Manchester City. Because, if Manchester City continue in this way… I think this is the big problem for all the teams who are thinking about fighting for the title.
“If they continue in this way, it will be very difficult to fight for the title. But, for sure, we have to try to do our best in every game. I think that, until now, we deserve to have this (number of) points.”
Can City carry on like this?
“I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t know. Until now, though, they are having a fantastic path. A fantastic path. If they continue in this way, it will be very difficult for all the teams to try and fight for the title until the end.
“I think when you play against Manchester United, City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham… I think it’s always a big game. I think this type of game must excite the players, to play in a fantastic atmosphere, to play and to know that the game… that a lot of people will watch the game in the whole world. Yes. I think it’s a really big game.”
Are you under pressure?
“Honestly, I feel always the same pressure. The same pressure. Because, before the game, I feel the pressure to win. In every game. Last season it was the same. When you stay on top of the table you feel the pressure to win because you want to stay on top of the table.
“I feel always the same pressure. This is very important. Above all for me because I’m a passionate man with a great enthusiasm. I need to feel this type of pressure.
“I like the pressure. I was born with the pressure.”
Abraham and Loftus-Cheek
“I think these players are having the right path, the right development. It’s very important for these players to play regularly, and to show that they are ready to be Chelsea’s players. Don’t forget the pressure is totally different if you play in a team fighting in the relegation zone, or fighting for something important. But I think this is the right path for Ruben and Tammy. I’m very happy they’re doing very well.”
Will Victor Moses be fit?
“No, zero chance. Moses’ injury was a bad injury, a bad muscular problem. We have to wait and have patience. He needs more time before he recovers.”
Why did Cahill play on the right of the back three in Rome?
“I think that, honestly, I don’t want to answer this question. Not out of a lack of respect for you, but who must understand understands.”
So will he play on the right again?
“No, no. He’s very good to play on the left. We won a league with Cahill in this position. I don’t understand why we have to try again to put him on the right.”
So was it a mistake on Tuesday?
“Maybe. I think Cahill can play on the right or the left, but the best position for me is on the left. But sometimes can happen a misunderstanding, you understand. It’s important then to clarify the situation. But for sure he will play on Sunday.”
Will Kante be risked?
“Honestly, if I wanted to risk him, I could do this against Bournemouth, I could do this against Roma. Instead, I waited. I found in myself a lot of patience to try the best way for N’Golo. It means that, if I decide to put him in the team to start the game, he will be ready to do this. Otherwise, I repeat, I could have done this against Bournemouth or Roma.”
Who is the game most important for?
“I think that when there is a big game, every team wants to win. Want to win. But it’s normal. Manchester United have their problems, but Chelsea have our own problems. For this reason, we want to try and solve our problems. Both teams will try to win the game.”
Have you done much work on countering United’s defensive play?
“I don’t care, I don’t care, I don’t care about this. I can only think about my players and trying to improve my team, not to look at the others. This is not the right way to look: at other teams, other players, other coaches.”
What was the difference in attitude between the Watford and Roma games?
“I don’t know, but it can happen, this. I was a player. Sometimes it happens. You want to do a lot, but you are not able to do this. It can happen. The most important thing is that it is an isolated case.”