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  1. Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has confirmed that he will shake Jose Mourinho's hand when the Blues face Manchester United in the FA Cup final at Wembley this afternoon. The two managers have endured a tense relationship during their time in opposing dugouts in the Premier League. However, Conte said on Friday: "Tomorrow I will shake his hand and both of us will think of the game. "It is not important what happened [previously]. There is a normal relationship between me and him." Conte also bemoaned the fact that he could win the cup and yet be sacked in the aftermath. "Usually, when you have a lot of positive situations, it's more simple," he said. "When you have a negative situation, then you must be prepared to work very hard, to work to improve every aspect. I think in this season, I did this together with my staff. "There are other people to judge your work, to judge the season, I don't think I'd be the right person to say: 'OK, if we win I plan this situation', or 'if we don't win, I plan another situation'. "I'm not interested in this. I'm interested in winning the final. This is the most important thing for me, for my players. "It's right to separate the two things because, otherwise, if you don't win it means you didn't work very well. "Sometimes you can win but the club decides to sack you anyway because they have a reason to do this." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  2. Cesc Fabregas has weighed in with criticism towards Chelsea's forwards and blamed too many missed chances on the team losing out on too many points this season. Blues boss Antonio Conte has regularly accused his strikers of being wasteful in front of goal, and said after a disappointing draw against West Ham last month, "this game describes very clearly our season". Midfielder Fabregas believes that Chelsea's recent upturn in form - they are on a five-match winning streak - shows they have improved in front of goal, but bemoaned their struggles earlier in the campaign. "We are taking more chances because we are winning, and that's the most important," the Spaniard told Sky Sports. "I think defensively as well, we have been keeping clean-sheets. "But the biggest regret this season, it's been up front, not taking our chances. We have had many, many chances to score in games - to win games that we didn't win. "We could have won more if we had been more clinical and that's been our weakest point this season." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  3. Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has stressed that his side are still fighting for a place in the Champions League next season. The Blues are five points adrift of the top four ahead of Saturday's trip to Swansea City and a win will take them to within two points of fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur who do not play Watford until Monday. Conte insists his Chelsea side will not give up on the top four while it's mathematically possible. "We have to try," he told reporters. "First of all we have to try to get three points at Swansea and it won't be easy because we are going to play against a team that is fighting to avoid relegation. "Swansea have won four of their last five games at home, it means they are in good form. "We must pay great attention but at the same time if we want to continue to have an opportunity take a place in the Champions League we need to get three points and try to put a bit of pressure on the teams that are higher than us. "It won't be easy but at the same time we must try to get as many points as possible from now until the end. "We have to play a very difficult game but if we want to continue to have an opportunity to take a place in the Champions League we need to get points." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  4. Antonio Conte has claimed that Chelsea's 1-1 home draw with West Ham United summed up their frustrating season. The Blues opened the scoring on 36 minutes through Cesar Azpilicueta and dominated proceedings in Sunday's Premier League match at Stamford Bridge. However, the hosts could not extend their lead, with Alvaro Morata seeing two goals chalked off for offside, while Hammers keeper Joe Hart put in a solid performance and Willian missed two sitters. The Hammers then went on to equalise against the run of play on 73 minutes through Javier Hernandez with what was only their third touch inside the hosts' area. "I think with this game we can see our season, our season is like this, we can create a lot of chances but we cannot take them," Conte told Sky Sports. "We are not clinical and then we concede two shots and concede a goal. This game is our season, it is a pity because we dominated the game and created many chances to score. "But when you don't score but create the chances it's very difficult to win. This game explains our season. "A good performance, yes, but many times we have had a good performance and lost the game, or drew the game, many times we've had a good performance but not won the game." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  5. Antonio Conte has urged his Chelsea players to put their poor form behind them and enjoy a strong finish to the Premier League season. The 2016-17 champions sit fifth in the table - 11 points off a top-four place - and have won just three top-flight matches since the turn of the year. However, prior to their home game against West Ham on Sunday, Conte has said he wants his players to put that disappointment behind them. "The most important thing is to be focused on the present and to try to finish this season in the best possible way," he told Sky Sports. "As I've said before, we have to try our best every single game. To look forward but at the same time look behind. "The only thing we can do and try to do every game is to show great desire, great pride and to try to finish this season in the best position in the table. "There is a great gap with Manchester City. The table is showing this. Now, to speak about the gap between us and Manchester City, is not right." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  6. Antonio Conte has rubbished Gianluca Vialli's claims that the former Juventus boss is "almost looking forward to leaving Chelsea". Ex-Blues boss Vialli, who played alongside Conte at Juve, told Sky Italy that his former teammate appeared unsettled and implied that they would look to go their separate ways at the end of the season. Conte, however, says he has not spoken to Vialli in a long time, insisting his compatriot's comments simply add to the speculation about his future which has been an ongoing theme for much of the season. Addressing Vialli's comments ahead of Sunday's visit of West Ham, Conte told Sky Sports: "It's not true, it's not true. Gianluca is a friend but I am not talking with him for one year maybe. "It's not true. It's very difficult for me but since this season [started] I am listening to a lot of speculation about my future and I am hearing a lot of people talking about my future. "I am reading a lot of speculation about my future but [this has been] since the start of the season, not now. "The only thing that is true is that I am committed to this club. I have a contract with this club. I work very hard for this club. This is the only thing that is true. The other situations are not true." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  7. Antonio Conte has reiterated that he is not anxious about whether he will be in a job if Chelsea do not qualify for the Champions League. The Blues lost 3-1 to Tottenham at Stamford Bridge, ending a 28-year hoodoo for the North Londoners which put them eight points clear of Conte's side. Conte conceded after the game that a Premier League top four place is improbable and there has been speculation the Italian is heading for a summer exit from the club. When asked if his future was in jeopardy if Chelsea finish out of the Champions League spots, he said: "I don't know, I don't know. I don't know about this, but we didn't speak about a project. "I don't know, you have to ask the club, not me. I repeat, my task is to work, and I know that I work, 24 hours, for Chelsea, me and my staff. "This is our task. Then the club has to take the decision. But I repeat, I am not worried about this." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  8. Eden Hazard has stressed that he has no problem with Chelsea manager Antonio Conte playing him out of his favourite position. In recent big games, the Italian has opted to use his player in a 'false nine' role rather than his preferred position on the left wing. Hazard has previously spoken out against Conte’s tactics, voicing his frustration after the defeat to Manchester City earlier this season. The Belgium star struggled when moved into a lone forward position for the big games, being isolated up top on his own. However, ahead of Chelsea's crunch Premier League game against Tottenham on Sunday, the playmaker says he is willing to sacrifice his favoured role for the good of the team. "I just want to be on the pitch," Hazard told Sky Sports. "Number 9, 10, I can play left-back if the manager wants, no problem. "I just want to be on the pitch and try to give everything like I do every time. "I'm happy with Chelsea. I am just thinking about the end of the season and the World Cup. I have got two years left on my contract so I am just happy." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  9. Antonio Conte has claimed that Chelsea could be on the receiving end of a hammering at Manchester City on Sunday if they do not get their tactics right. Chelsea are 22 points behind Pep Guardiola's champions-elect and are bidding to avoid a third Premier League away loss in a row for the first time in five years when they visit the Etihad Stadium. "When you play this type of game, when you play against this team who have showed to be very strong, you must have a plan in your mind to stop them with a tactical plan, otherwise you risk to lose in a bad way," Conte told Sky Sports. "The most important things in every game are to have a tactical plan defensively and offensively. In my mind, if you want to win, you must have a great balance in every moment of the game. "It's very difficult but, at the same time, we have to try and find if there are weaknesses in this team and try to work on these weaknesses. "For sure, it's not simple, not simple in this moment to find a weakness in this team. But we have to try and find the best way to play this game against them." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  10. Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has joked that he is "a bit of a disaster" when it comes to convincing the club's board to sign new players. The Italian has been at loggerheads with the Blues board in each of the last two transfer windows and has been left disappointed by the failure to sign big-name targets such as Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez, Alex Sandro and Virgil van Dijk. Conte claims that he is more the kind of coach who improves existing players, but admits he needs to be more persuasive in terms of getting the green light to bring in new recruits. Asked about his credentials, Conte told reporters: “I don't know. Usually? Usually in my experience, I think I reached the best results possible with the players that I have to work with. “I think that I'm the type of coach who, if I have a player who is a six, I bring him to an eight. If I have a player who is an eight, I take him to 10. I'm this type of coach. “My task is to try and improve every single players, in every aspect. About mentality also. About the desire, the will to fight, and the tactical aspects. Yes. My task is this. For this, I'm very good. “I think I'm a bit of a disaster to convince the club to buy the players. I think in this aspect I can improve a lot. "I have to learn a lot from the other coaches, the other managers, in that aspect. I can learn a lot in that aspect. “I have to speak more with the managers who are very, very good to persuade their clubs to spend money and buy top players.” Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  11. Antonio Conte's on increasingly thin ice at Chelsea, what with their meek Premier League title defence, failure to reach the EFL Cup final and general standing up to the club's board, including the latest jibe of wanting to have a public vote of confidence. Tonight they make the short trip to Vicarage Road to face Watford and reports say the Italian's job is on the line should they fail to put away the Hornets. How will this game pan out? Football Manics takes a closer look with this preview. Standings You'd think a team sitting 11th in the table would be safe, but the Premier League relegation fight is more of a Royal Rumble this season - just three points separate 11th-placed Watford and 19th-placed Huddersfield, while ninth-placed Bournemouth are only four points ahead of the Hornets. Javi Gracia's charges have earned just six points from 12 games since late November, incidentally around the time when Everton's reported interest in Marco Silva made the papers, and eventually led to the Portuguese's dismissal. They also have the worst home record in the top flight, with 13 points from 12 matches and a goal difference of minus nine, and have dropped 16 points from winning positions this campaign, the most in the division. For all of Chelsea's current malaise, they're holding up pretty well - fourth in the table and just six points off second place, they can leapfrog Liverpool into third place with victory at Vicarage Road tonight. The form isn't good though - only two wins from of their nine competitive matches in 2018, and their 50-point tally after 25 games this season is 10 fewer than at this stage last season on their way to the title. Not to mention losing 3-0 to Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge - it would be deemed a disaster for any team, never mind the reigning champions. Head to head Chelsea are unbeaten in 13 matches against Watford in all competitions since a 1-0 Premier League defeat in September 1999. This will be both Watford and Chelsea's first fixture on a Monday since they played out a 4-3 thriller in May last year, won by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. All three of Chelsea's Premier League goals at Vicarage Road have come in the 80th minute or later - a 92nd-minute winner by Salomon Kalou in 2007, and goals by Michy Batshuayi and Diego Costa in 2016. Team news Watford will continue to be without goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes (back) for the visit of the Premier League champions Hornets midfielder Didier Ndong could make his first appearance for the club following his deadline-day switch from Sunderland. Younes Kaboul (foot), Miguel Britos (ankle), Kiko Femenia, Will Hughes (both hamstring), Isaac Success, Craig Cathcart, and Nathaniel Chalobah (all knee) remain unavailable. Olivier Giroud and defender Emerson Palmieri arrived at Chelsea last week from Arsenal and Roma respectively, costing a combined £36m. However, they may have to settle for places on the bench at best as they return to full fitness following recent injuries. Centre-back Andreas Christensen, who limped off with a hamstring problem against Bournemouth on Wednesday, and striker Alvaro Morata (back) are both ruled out. But winger Willian (hamstring) could feature while centre-half David Luiz (ankle) has returned to training. Prediction The Hornets go into this game on the back of a five-game winless run and have a lengthy injury list, while the Blues will be reeling from the 3-0 loss at home to Bournemouth, and will be feeling vulnerable - particularly given the constant tension between Conte and the club board. I'd like to think that Chelsea would just be too good for Watford but I reckon it'll end as a draw and Conte could be gone by tomorrow. Share your thoughts about this preview feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  12. Olivier Giroud has revealed how France manager Didier Deschamps told him to change clubs after falling to the fringes of the Arsenal squad. The 31-year-old left the Gunners and joined Chelsea on transfer deadline day as part of an unusual transfer triangle between three clubs. Blues forward Michy Batshuayi, meanwhile, was loaned to Borussia Dortmund and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang moved from BVB to Arsenal. As well as mentioning his national coach's intervention, Giroud spoke about the clubs that were after him and his decision to move to Chelsea. "I spoke with Didier Deschamps. He did not tell me to join Chelsea but just to change clubs," Giroud told French outlet Telefoot. "Dortmund was interested, but for a loan, there was Seville too and at one point my agent received a call from Roma. "But my choice was quite clear and obvious when I knew that Antonio Conte wanted to work with me. "I know that Conte appreciates my profile, we work well together. We are two forward strikers in Chelsea. There will be good competition between us." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  13. Rafael Benitez has warned his Newcastle United players to expect a backlash from a wounded Chelsea side in the fourth round of the FA Cup. The Magpies head to Stamford Bridge on Sunday to face a team that fell at the semi-final stage of the EFL Cup against Arsenal. With Antonio Conte's men 15 points adrift of Premier League leaders Manchester City and up against a rejuvenated Barcelona in the last 16 of the Champions League, the FA Cup could represent their best chance of success this season. Benitez told Sky Sports: "It's a different approach for them. I'm sure that they will consider this the most important competition for them right now. "Obviously after, they will play another competition, but the league is very difficult for them and they are out of the Carabao Cup, so I think it will be a very strong side in front of us." Asked if the FA Cup rather than the league would be Chelsea's main focus over what remains of the season, the Newcastle boss replied: "One hundred per cent." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  14. We now know one of the teams contesting the 2017-18 EFL Cup final, Manchester City overcoming a plucky Bristol City outfit 3-2 for a 5-3 aggregate win. On Wednesday night we will know if Pep Guardiola's first cup final in England will be against Arsenal or Chelsea, who face off at the Emirates Stadium. Who will win between the two London rivals for a trip to Wembley? Football Manics takes a closer look. How the tie stands The first leg at Stamford Bridge ended goalless, with the usage of the fledging VAR system probably more worthy than the action on the pitch. Martin Atkinson consulted the VAR on two Chelsea penalty claims, when Victor Moses tangled with Ainsley Maitland-Niles in the first half and for Danny Welbeck's last-minute challenge on Cesc Fabregas, but was satisfied enough with the evidence relayed to him not to award a spot-kick. Form Both sides have endured a tricky couple of weeks, but Chelsea go into the second leg having beaten Brighton & Hove Albion 4-0 at the Amex Stadium on Saturday, while Arsenal are coming off the back of a 4-1 victory over Crystal Palace. Stats This will be the fifth meeting in all competitions between the two sides this season - the third time they've met five times in a single campaign and first since 2003-04. Indeed, the last time two top-flight clubs drew five games against each other in a single season was Arsenal against Liverpool back in 1979-80, and the only other occasion this happened involved Chelsea (against Burnley in 1955-56). After failing to reach the final in five of their first six EFL Cup semi-finals in which they failed to win the first leg, the Gunners have progressed from two of the last three (2006-07 vs Spurs and 2010-11 vs Ipswich). Chelsea have lost just once in their last eight away games versus Arsenal in all competitions. Arsenal and Chelsea have both made the EFL Cup final on seven previous occasions - only four teams have reached the final more times (Liverpool 12, Man Utd 9, Aston Villa 8, Spurs 8). Arsene Wenger has reached the EFL Cup final twice as Arsenal manager (2007 and 2011), but it remains the only domestic trophy he's not won with the Gunners. Team news New Arsenal signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan will have to wait to make his debut as he is cup-tied in the EFL Cup. The former Manchester United player appeared in the quarter-finals for his former club, but Aaron Ramsey and Nacho Monreal could feature. Alvaro Morata will be missing for Chelsea with a back injury, while Cesc Fabregas has a hamstring problem. However, Andreas Christensen is available for selection after recovering from a head injury in the 4-0 win at Brighton. Manager quotes Arsene Wenger: "It's an important game and we want to go to the final. We have an opportunity to do it at home against Chelsea. I think the two teams know each other very well. "The first leg was very blocked, the second leg will certainly be more open, because at some stage, the teams will have to open up to try to win the game. It should be much more spectacular than the first one." Antonio Conte: "After a 0-0 draw, for sure the game will be very open. To reach the final in this competition. This is a good target for us, and also for Arsenal. "It's an important target. Especially for me. In one-and-a-half years here, I have the opportunity to win the league and play the FA Cup final, then the Community Shield and now, maybe, another final in the Carabao Cup. "To play many finals in this country. This is very important for me and my players." Prediction It's always hard to call these games, which as we've seen in recent weeks, can end up as multi-goal thrillers or dour stalemates. With Sanchez now off the Arsenal books and Morata injured, both sides will have to rely on their lesser-heralded attackers to try to produce the goods. However, Chelsea have the stellar Eden Hazard in their ranks and I think he will make the difference in the game and in the tie. Score prediction: 1-2 Share your thoughts about this preview feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  15. Jose Mourinho is a manager that believes in winning matches with mind games and words against opposition managers, and he has been very successful with that. He knows no boundary when it comes to war of words and he has done that to many managers including one of those that gave him the chance to develop as a manager in Louis Van Gaal. The only manager he has respect for is Sir Alex Ferguson and the chemistry between them is a discussion for another time. Whenever Mourinho gets to a new league he will look out for the potential title contenders to attack with words and destabilize their mentality. By December last year, he knew it would be nearly impossible to catch Manchester City and the attention then turned to a top-four finish. With Spurs and Liverpool a little far from United towards the end of December, he believes their closest rival is Chelsea with Conte in charge and he will do anything to ensure United increase the gap between the two teams. Chelsea finished a point above United in 2017 and that might have prompted the outspoken manager to refer to his Chelsea counterpart as a ‘clown’ earlier this month. Many may argue that no name was mentioned when Mourinho made that comment but Conte was very sure of the intent and rationale behind that comment. He was waiting and preparing for his chance to give an appropriate response to the ‘clown’ remark made by the United boss, he started digging and looking for Jose’s previous comments and remarks regarding similar situations. This will have impact in their next couple of games as the manager spent more time thinking about the response to give rather than spending more time preparing his team for their upcoming games. Chelsea went on to draw four matches in which they failed to score a single goal in three of them, against Arsenal in the EFL Cup, Leicester City in the League and Norwich City in the FA Cup. Within those matches, Mourinho has taunted Conte by making reference to the Italian’s match-fixing scandal in which he served a four-month touchline ban in 2012/2013 while at Juventus by saying he will never be suspended for match-fixing, though Conte was later acquitted of the charge in a court in Italy in 2016. Conte hit back and called Mourinho a ‘little man’ more than three times in the subsequent press conference, which reflects Conte’s frustration and distractions as a result of Jose’s comments coupled with the growing pressure from the fans and the board as the bad results keep piling up. The man Mourinho is ever ready for war of words and you can be sure he has ready made answers to every barb thrown at him - in fact, he flourishes in this type of situation and that has been a very effective match-winning method for him in the past. His unpopular spats with Arsene Wenger gave him edge over the latter when he first arrived at Chelsea during his first stint with the club. Wenger has not recorded up to three wins against Mourinho, who has won several games against the latter. Conte, on the other hand, is not used to this type of situation, he is energetic on the touchline but always appears dispirited in the press conferences. He chooses his words carefully with caution and that can be read from his passive image at every interview. It was not long before Conte realized the damage his rant with Mourinho has caused his team, realizing the effect this has had on his players. Conte was ready to adjust and he was the first to throw in the towel by suggesting that the pair can meet in a room to try and explain (settle) their differences. He’ll try as much as possible to avoid further feuds with Jose and he was quick to say “I said I stop” when he was further questioned on the issue. Knowing fully well that Jose has gotten to his head, Conte will avoid further feuds with the former Chelsea manager and focus all of his attention to getting his team back to the winning way in other to avoid bad results from subsequent games. With Chelsea winning 4-0 against Brighton and four points adrift of United, Conte seems to be getting his attention back on his team and leaving the war of words to the warlord himself. It is only a matter of time for us to know if Mourinho is done playing with Conte’s head or not. Share your thoughts about this opinion feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  16. Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has saluted Alexis Sanchez as a "phenomenal" player and did not rule out a potential move for the Arsenal forward. The Chile international is widely expected to leave the Emirates Stadium this year, and the Red Devils are believed to have joined Manchester United in the race for his signature. "I don't think it is ethical or correct to be speaking about players of other clubs," Mourinho told reporters when asked about any potential interest in Sanchez. "If somebody speaks about one of my players, to say we are interested or not I wouldn't be very happy. "Sanchez is an Arsenal player. I don't know but probably this weekend he is going to wear Arsenal colours. I don't think it is correct to say things about Alexis Sanchez. "At a general level, what I can say is that myself and the Manchester United board, we do not believe a lot in the January market. We don't believe in signing a player just to do something. "What we believe is there are some players in the football world where, if you have a chance to sign them, whether it is in January, March or July, then you have to try. "In relation to Sanchez all I can say, which everyone else says, is that he is a phenomenal player. I feel I shouldn't say much more than this." Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, meanwhile, said he tried to sign Sanchez while at Juventus, and thinks £20m for the 29-year-old would be a "good investment" and also a bargain. "He's a great player and he knows very well that in my first season in Juventus we tried to buy him from Udinese and then he decided to go to Udinese," said Conte. "I have great admiration for great players, I think Alexis Sanchez is one of these players. If Manchester City want Alexis Sanchez, they buy Alexis Sanchez and they don't have problem. "I think it's a good investment because we are talking about a top player and I'm hearing that the amount is around £20m. If you buy Alexis Sanchez with a normal price maybe 80 or 90 million euros." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  17. As far as the January transfer window goes, one signing which might surprise fans is the arrival of England international Ross Barkley from Everton to Chelsea. The 24-year-old midfielder sealed a £15m switch on a five-and-a-half-year deal – which actually seems somewhat of a bargain if Antonio Conte can reproduce much of Barkley’s earlier form at Everton. Chelsea fans may have mixed emotions regarding this signing and other naturals pondering what attracted the player to a team which is quite blessed in the centre of the park. I personally feel the move will help revive Barkley’s career, whilst bestowing upon Chelsea a young player that hasn’t yet reached his prime. So, there’s certainly potential there for the deal to highlight why exactly it would be a bargain. On the face of it, they have signed a very capable player that has struggled in recent seasons to overcome his performances. Yet much of this I would personally pinpoint to the turbulence caused from managerial changes, along with the fact that Everton are going through somewhat of a transitional period – with players of an experienced age failing to be replaced adequately. I believe Barkley to be a very strong leader for his age, his passion, energy is well beyond his playing years, and it really did become hard to see how he could progress further with the Toffees. Can Everton feel a little hard done by? Not so much, I think the valuation is about right for what Chelsea paid considering the past two seasons. Over the last few years, Everton have produced some very talented young players and there’s no sign of this coming to any sort of an end, while Chelsea haven’t quite generated their own players, so it makes ideal sense that they go out and acquire a player that they can further improve themselves. "I’m overwhelmed, I’m looking forward to it and I’m really excited to get started. To be given a fresh start at a new club like Chelsea, it’s unbelievable for me," Barkley said. "I’m looking forward to continuing where I left off at the end of last season and hoping to improve and add more goals to my game." There’s no denying that Barkley can further improve his game surrounded by Chelsea’s winning mentality. The creativity found throughout their squad will naturally see him presented with plenty of chances to add to his goalscoring record – the biggest plus is that it’s the perfect opportunity for him to re-establish himself as an intentional player. With the right mentoring, progression and desire, I can see Barkley’s character winning over Chelsea fans and I do see him establishing himself as a Frank Lampard type character. I’m not suggesting that they’re of the same mould, yet I can see the similarities and I do feel this is what attracted them to making the move. If he can settle in well, in a few seasons there’s every chance that Ross will become a prime candidate for the Chelsea captaincy and this is a role which I feel would further help his development as an England player. Regular games within Europe will also further aid his improvements, and whilst some fans may believe that he is overrated – it’s really for himself to prove any doubters wrong. At this stage in his career, the move makes perfect sense to me and for both parties as they natural gain something different. The opportunity is there and if the move doesn’t pay off, well the fee should easily be recouped providing he’s not left to be forgotten – hopefully he can further prove exactly why he’s one of the best young English midfielders. Share your thoughts about this opinion article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  18. Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has insisted that he "will not forget" his feud with Manchester United's Jose Mourinho, adding that it is a problem between the two managers, not their clubs. The two have traded insults over the past few days as Conte responded to Mourinho speaking about “clowns” on the touchline by accusing the Portuguese of losing his mind. Mourinho hit back by referencing the match-fixing scandal Conte was cleared over, which provoked the Italian to describe the former Chelsea manager as a “little man” and “fake”. Asked whether or not he regrets anything he has said or the nature of the row, Conte said: “Do I have the look of a person who regrets? I don't think so. We both said these things and we'll see what happens in the future.” "This is not a problem for the clubs. It's a problem between me and him. I stop. I think it's not important, (to involve) the association, you understand. It's not important. He said serious words, using serious words and I won't forget this.” Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  19. Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has escalated the war of words with Chelsea boss Antonio Conte by saying he will never be "suspended for match-fixing". The Italian received a four-month suspension while at Juventus in the 2012-13 season for failing to report match-fixing at his previous club Siena, although he was cleared of any wrongdoing by a court in 2016. However, Mourinho nonetheless appeared to drag the issue up in the wake of his side's FA Cup win over Derby on Friday night. Conte had earlier suggested that the United manager had forgotten some of his own past behaviour when it was put to him that Mourinho had suggested that he behaved like a clown on the touchline. But the Portuguese coach insists he was only referring to himself when discussing the fact that he has toned down his antics on the sidelines. "I don't blame him," Mourinho told reporters after Friday's 2-0 win over Derby County in the third round of the FA Cup. "Honestly, I don't blame him. The question that comes to him comes to him wrong and because of that he has that out-of-control reaction. But I don't blame him at all. "I was asked about my passion and you know because most of you were in my press conference I was speaking about myself. And then the question to the Chelsea manager was like I told [them] that he behaved like a clown. "So I don't blame the Chelsea manager at all and I understand the reaction but I was talking about myself by saying that I don't need to behave like a clown to show passion. "Everybody knows that I don't need the Chelsea manager to know that I made mistakes in the past and I will make mistakes in the future. "I celebrated goals by running 50 metres. I celebrated goals by sliding on my knees. I have celebrated by jumping into the crowd. I am not free of that, especially if it is a winning goal in a specific moment. "I am not free of an out-of-control reaction in the future. But what I was trying to say is that I behaved badly in the past a few times and in this moment I control myself much better. "It doesn't mean that my passion is not the same. So, wrong question. Obviously a strong answer but I don't blame [him]. "The only thing I want to say to Antonio Conte is that, yes, I made my mistakes in the past on the touchline. Yes, I make less but I will [still] make a few. "What has never happened to me and will never happen is to be suspended for match-fixing. That never happened to me and it will never happen." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  20. Chelsea have announced the signing of England midfielder Ross Barkley from Everton for a reported £15m fee. The 24-year-old has signed a five-and-a-half-year deal with last season's Premier League champions. Barkley, who leaves Everton after 13 years at Goodison Park, has not played for seven months because of a hamstring injury and had surgery in August. "He's very young and has a lot of space for improvement," said Chelsea manager Antonio Conte. "He's a good prospect but at the same time, it will be very important to understand, if the player signs, we must have patience to help him recover." Barkley, who has won 22 England caps, added: "I'm overwhelmed, I'm looking forward to it and I'm really excited to get started. "To be given a fresh start at a new club like Chelsea, it's unbelievable for me. I'm looking forward to continuing where I left off at the end of last season and hoping to improve and add more goals to my game." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  21. Antonio Conte has hit back at Jose Mourinho's criticism of other managers' touchline behaviour by describing his comments as borne of 'senile dementia'. On Thursday, the Portuguese appeared to take a swipe at his touchline rivals when comparing his own behaviour in the technical area to other managers in the top flight. Mourinho he did not need to act like a "clown" to prove his desire to stay at Manchester United, saying his commitment to the club is "total". "Because I don't behave as a clown on the touchline, it means that I lost my passion," Mourinho said. "I prefer to behave the way I am doing it, much more mature, better for my team and myself, I don't think you have to behave like a crazy guy on the touchline to have that passion. "That passion, you see it every day. The way a person is dedicated to his work, not what you do in front of the cameras." When asked by Sky Sports about Mourinho's comments, Conte used the Italian phrase "demenza senile" in relation to the Manchester United manager, which translates as "senile dementia". He said: "I think he has to see himself in the past - maybe he was speaking about himself in the past. Maybe, sometimes, I think that someone forgets what's said in the past, which is his behaviour. "Sometimes I think there is, I don't know the name, but demenza senile... when you forget what you do in the past." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  22. Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has stressed that he is not keeping tabs on speculation linking defender David Luiz with a departure from Stamford Bridge. Conte and Luiz are rumoured to have fallen out in the wake of the Blues's 3-0 defeat to Roma in the Champions League two months ago. The Brazilian defender has not featured in the Premier League since then, with youngster Andreas Christensen instead preferred at the back. Luiz is currently unavailable for selection due to a knee injury but Conte still had to answer questions on his Chelsea future when he faced the media ahead of Wednesday's EFL Cup quarter-final against Bournemouth. Asked about the ongoing speculation, the Italian told reporters: "I don't read it and I [therefore] solve the problem. "I don't read so I don't have information about this topic. As a person I am very realistic, I like to tell the truth." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  23. Antonio Conte has warned Chelsea's Premier League rivals that they cannot afford to allow Manchester City to sign Virgil van Dijk. Despite interest from Arsenal and Liverpool, the Citizens are reportedly hopeful of completing a deal for the Southampton defender in January. Conte believes that Pep Guardiola's side, who have already won all but one of their league games this season, will become even more untouchable. "Every team, every club, must pay great attention," the Italian told reporters. "Because if a club like Manchester City takes all the best players, it will be very difficult for us to fight. Not only in England but in Europe. "If they can do this, it is right for them to do this. We must pay great respect. "When you have this opportunity to go in the market to spend a lot of money, I think it is right to do this. "You must obviously be very good to spend your money in this way — sometimes you can spend a lot of money in a bad way. "You must be clever to understand the positions, the roles you have to improve. In this case you must be very good.” Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  24. Antonio Conte has admitted that Chelsea's start "wasn't good enough" against Newcastle United but was happy to see his side go on to take all three points. Dwight Gayle's gave the Magpies a surprise lead in the 12th minute of Saturday's Premier League game at Stamford Bridge but Eden Hazard struck back with an angled strike nine minutes later. Alvaro Morata then edged the Blues ahead in the 33rd minute before Hazard wrapped up the points with a cheeky penalty in the second half after Matt Ritchie had brought down Victor Moses in the area. "I think our start wasn't good enough," Conte told Sky Sports after his side's 3-1 home win. "After going 1-0 down, we started to play with good intensity and good football. Our start was a bit slow. "We did well after only two days' rest. It was a solid performance despite the goal. We showed good motivation and good intensity. I made rotations in the game and the response of my players was positive. "I think that today, to play and win after two days of rest means a lot. Newcastle had the advantage with one day more of rest. When asked about Hazard's penalty, Conte replied: "The most important thing is to score. The player can decide to shoot in every way, but the important thing is to score, otherwise it can make me a bit angry." Hazard, speaking about his spot kick, said: "When I take the ball in my hands, instinct. I just want to do this. I just want the goalkeeper to move, if he doesn't move, I'm in trouble. He moved, the ball is in the middle, It was a good penalty." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  25. Antonio Conte has apologised to match officials for his behaviour after he was sent to the stands during Chelsea's 1-0 win against Swansea City on Wednesday night. The Italian was given his marching orders by referee Neil Swarbrick after a number of remonstrations with fourth official Lee Mason on the touchline. The last straw came when he protested a Swansea goal kick at the end of the first half and saw Conte sent off for the first time as Chelsea boss. "I saw that the opponent was wasting time and that is the reason I spoke a few times with the fourth official," he told Sky Sports. "I didn't see that the situation change and I was frustrated with the fourth official. "For this reason, I have to apologise to him and the referee. In that moment, I was angry but I know that is it right to apologise to them. "It is fair, I don't know, but I know that the referee took this decision and for this reason, we have to accept and respect his decision. "It is not simple sometimes during the game, there is a lot of frustration but at the same time, I think that you can make a mistake and I did this. "Our job is not simple. Our job is to stay on the touchline and to suffer with your players. You can't play and for this season, it is very difficult to sometimes keep calm." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.

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