Praise for Ampadu after Chelsea’s cup win

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Antonio Conte hailed Ethan Ampadu after the 17-year-old’s impressive performance at the heart of Chelsea’s defence against Bournemouth.

Ampadu was shown a yellow card for a challenge on Jermain Defoe after just 90 seconds at Stamford Bridge, where Alvaro Morata’s injury-time winner – scored straight after the Cherries had equalised – took Chelsea through to the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup.

Ampadu, signed from Exeter City during the summer, settled and produced an excellent display.

“It is not simple for a defender to play with a yellow card after one minute. He played a good game with this problem,” Blues boss Conte said after the 2-1 victory.

“You have to play 93 or 94 minutes with this danger and he showed great maturity and a great performance.

“I have spoken about this player in an enthusiastic way because I have said that despite being a young age he has great maturity, and I think he has deserved to play.”

Conte also praised Willian, who scored the opening goal but looked jaded before being taken off along with Pedro in the second half.

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Conte insisted: “I’m very happy with Willian. He scored and I think he played a really good game with great commitment, the same as Pedro.

“Don’t forget that this was their third game in a row and when you play three games in seven days usually you pay something in the physical aspect. I think for 60 minutes they gave us a lot of quality.”

Chelsea will now face Arsenal over two legs for a place in the final and Conte believes their progression to the semi-finals is a “remarkable achievement” given that his fringe players have been heavily involved in the tournament.

They had to withstand periods of second-half pressure against Bournemouth, but Conte was more than satisfied with their evening’s work.

“The most important thing is that we are in the semi-final,” he said.

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“Last season we were eliminated in the second round against West Ham and this season we must be happy for this achievement to reach the semi-final of one of the two cups in England.

“It is great for us, especially because we reached the semi-final with a lot of rotation.

“I’m very happy. I had a good response from my players and I hope to continue in this way.

“Tonight players had the chance to play from the start and I think I had a good response. I’m very happy with the performance.”