Conte defends players after Roy Keane comments


We'll select a team with some counter-attacking ability and with any opportunities we do get in the game, we have to be ruthless and clinical.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, meanwhile, insisted that the cup is not secondary to their Premier League or Champions League ambitions, with Barcelona coming up in the latter competition on Tuesday. We tried to do the same in the Carabao Cup, to reach the semi-final. "We want to fight for every competition".

"We are talking about two of the best players of our academy in this case (Ampadu and Hudson-Odoi)".

"But I think above all the tone of how you transmit your ideas is more important, how you get through to the players, and there are many ways to do that". But now, I think it's very soon to answer this question. "For us, Giroud is a good option", Conte explained. In one year and a half we built a great mentality. In every training session I see great commitment and great behaviour.

Conte promised to give some youngsters a shot on Friday night.

That does make this a bit of a trap game, especially if the Magic of the FA Cup decides to magic its way into the narrative (a bit like it did for Bradford City a few years ago when Chelsea ended up winning both the league and the League Cup), but it does also mean that it's a good chance to rest and rotate the squad.

"With Ampadu it is not hard to predict a brilliant future for this player and it is the same for Odoi". Conte's bemused face, however, suggested that something was clearly up and it was at this point that the intruder revealed a Manchester United jersey with "Antonio Conte 1" printed on the back, apparently "signed and delivered as a gift from Jose Mourinho".

Conte readily indulged talk of Chelsea sacking him earlier this month, just over half a season after leading the team to the top-flight title, as he took to publicly criticising the club's transfer dealings and suffered consecutive defeats against Bournemouth and Watford.