Conte on whether Emerson will play against Southampton

Antonio Conte will assess Emerson Palmieri’s fitness before deciding whether to select him for Chelsea’s FA Cup semi-final against Southampton at Wembley.

Emerson impressed in Thursday’s 2-1 win at Burnley, but it was his first Premier League start since his January move to Chelsea and there are doubts over whether he is fit enough to play twice in quick succession.

Blues boss Conte, who is without the suspended Marcos Alonso, admitted on Friday afternoon he was unsure whether Emerson would start this weekend’s match.

“At this moment it is very difficult to answer this question. Emerson didn’t play many games,” Conte said.

“We are talking about a young player with really good prospects for Chelsea.

“I have two days to make the best decision for Sunday’s game, to understand who are the players who have recovered after yesterday’s game and to decide who is in contention for Sunday’s game.”

Emerson was lively on the left flank at Burnley, delivering the cross which led to Victor Moses scoring the winner.

But Conte believes there is much more to come from the Brazilian.

“I think he played a very good game defensively and offensively,” Conte said.

“For sure, offensively, I think he must be more positive and try to have more one-v-ones, because he has these characteristics.”

Antonio Conte reacts to Arsene Wenger’s decision to quit Arsenal

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has hailed the impact Arsene Wenger had on the world of football after the veteran Frenchman confirmed he would stand down as Arsenal manager.

Wenger announced on Friday that the 2017/18 season would be his final campaign in charge of the club, bringing to an end his 22-year reign with the north Londoners.

And Conte was full of admiration for Wenger and particularly his longevity, and believes both he and former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson are the last of dying breed.

He told reporters:

‘I think we must pay great tribute to Arsene Wenger for his career in Arsenal. In him and Sir Alex Ferguson we are talking about the last two managers to stay for such long time in a club.

‘Arsene Wenger was working 22 years for Arsenal, I think that’s great. It’s fantastic. It’s a fantastic story. He won a lot with this club and for this reason I think he deserves a great tribute for his career.’

He continued:

‘I think Arsene is one of the managers that has had a great influence in football, because in every moment he tried to play his idea of football.

‘To play good football, to play creative football, to play offensive football. And I think he deserves a great tribute also for this.’

Asked what reaction he should get from fans, he added:

‘He deserves great respect. Not only from Arsenal supporters, but from the whole world of football.

‘He deserves great respect. I repeat we are talking about one of the greatest managers in the world with an important career in Arsenal.

‘He deserves a great tribute for his career and it will be very difficult to see in the future another manager to stay such long time at the same club.

‘I think Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger they were a really good story for football. Now it will be very difficult to see again another situation like this.’

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