West London Sport

Conte on Arsenal tactics, injury latest, whether he expects signings and why Kenedy can succeed

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Chelsea boss Antonio Conte spoke about a number of issues at a media conference ahead of the game against Arsenal. Here’s some of what the Italian had to say.

On Chelsea’s injuries ahead of the game

“Morata and Fabregas are out. They are not available for the Arsenal game.

“I have to check a couple of other situations to make the best decision for tomorrow’s game, but for sure Morata and Fabregas are out.

“Morara has a problem in his back and he is injured.”

On Andreas Christensen

“He’s fit. He trained with us and he’s fit.”

On facing Arsenal again

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“The game in the league was different to the game in the Carabao Cup.

“The game in the league was more open. In the first leg in the Carabao Cup the game was different as in this case you have two games to reach the final.

“There is a target for both teams to reach the final of the competition. This is a good target. For this reason I think, after a 0-0, for sure the game will be very open.

“When you play against Arsenal, you must be prepared to suffer without the ball because they like to be offensive and like to bring many players in the box to try to find combinations between strikers, wingers and midfielders.

“For this reason we must pay great attention. It will be important to be compact without the ball but at the same time Arsenal know very well that when we have the ball we are dangerous in the same way.”

On whether Alexis Sanchez having left Arsenal is good news for Chelsea

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“I don’t see any advantage in this situation. I think Arsenal have a good squad. If you remember, in the game at home in the league Sanchez didn’t play. It was the same in the Carabao Cup – he played only 10 minutes.

“He only played against us (at Arsenal) in the league and if you remember we were winning 2-1 with four minutes to go.”

On his desire to reach the final

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“For me, for all my players and for the fans I think this is an important target – especially for me, as in my first season I had the opportunity to win the league and to be in the final of the FA Cup and now I have the opportunity to be in another final.

“This is very important for me and my players, but to reach the final we have to play against Arsenal and that is always a big challenge and a big game. They want to go to the final in the same way we want to.

“For me and my players it would be great to reach this target, but we know that to reach this target we have to be ready to fight against Arsenal.

“It’s a massive game and a big challenge for us.”

On Kenedy’s loan move to Newcastle

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“For sure we are talking about a young player with great potential.

“At this moment in his career he needs to play with regularity and I think going to Newcastle is a great challenge for him.

“I think this way is good for the club and we have used the same way for Christensen. Now Christensen is a Chelsea player who is always in the starting 11.

“I think it will be good for Kenedy but at the same time he has to know that he must be ready to fight to play at Newcastle, because don’t forget in his first six months at Watford he struggled a lot to play and played only 24 minutes.

“But I think now he is more ready. Now he can show his potential by going out on loan.”

On whether Kenedy’s move means a new signing will arrive

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“I don’t know. As you know very well about the transfer market, if there is news the club will inform you.

“I have said that if one player goes on loan the club then decides whether to buy another player or to work with a young player, like Sterling from the academy.

“I am ready for both cases and then the club has to decide the best for the club.”

On Bristol City v Manchester City

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“In the other semi-final I think Manchester City at this moment have a good advantage because they won 2-1 in the first leg.

“Manchester City is a really great team but in this country every game is not easy.

“In this trophy I think Manchester City struggled a lot to go to the next round and it was the same for us against Norwich in the FA Cup.

“In this country there is no easy game and you must be prepared to fight in every game.”

On the transfer window

“There is this window and in 31 days it’s not simple to face this situation, especially because in every team there are players that feel they could change team.

“It’s not simple to play in this period, but I have to praise my players because they show me every day great professionalism and I am happy for this.

“For this reason I am very happy to work with this group of players. If there are some changes, we must be ready, but in any case I am very happy.”