Chelsea boss Antonio Conte’s sights quick swung to next week’s League Cup semi-last return leg at London rivals Arsenal after the Blues came back to winning ways in the Premier League on Saturday.
The visitor’s 4-0 triumph Brighton – their first win in 90 min since the turn of the year – drew a line under a troublesome late run that had seen Conte’s side struggle in front of goals.
While the Conte was satisfied his side had returned to form with two goals from Eden Hazard and one each from Willian and Victor Moses, he insists his attention was presently on the possibility of securing a place in a Wembley final.
The scoreless first-leg draw at Stamford Bridge implies the tie is equally balanced and Conte said:
For us, it’s important Hazard, Willian, and Moses all score.
“But, from tomorrow (Sunday), every single player that scored today has to forget he scored and must try and score again against Arsenal.
“This is the most important thing: to be happy for today’s performance but, from tomorrow, to think about another important game against Arsenal, another important situation to try to help the team to win.”
14 Games Unbeaten
The Italian boss denied his side had been floating towards an issue after a bad run of five successive draws, the final of which came against Norwich City in the FA Cup in midweek and was settled with a penalty shoot-out.
“Whoever said this needs to focus on the statistics,” Conte said. “We’re unbeaten in 14 games.
“It’s typical that some people attempt to see the negative angle and don’t see the positives. However, this team, with numerous issues, are unbeaten in 14 games in all competition.
“This implies we are performing critical work with these players to win along these lines, despite five players being out today: Cesc Fabregas, Danny Drinkwater, Thibaut Courtois, two suspensions in Pedro and (Alvaro) Morata.”
Then Conte anticipated that Andreas Christensen would be fit to confront Arsenal in spite of the Danish centre-back being replaced in the wake of suffering a hit to the head, with the substitution clearly empowered by referee Jon Moss.
“Andreas had a contusion,” Conte clarified. “We made a substitution, but the player didn’t want to come off.
“In the meantime, when you have the possibility to have on the seat players like David Luiz, it was straightforward for me. The referee tried to force this substitution. It was a simple contusion.
“The player is alright. From tomorrow’s training, he’s prepared.”
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