United’s treatment of Hazard annoys Conte

Antonio Conte accused Manchester United of targeting Eden Hazard following Chelsea’s FA Cup quarter-final victory.

N’Golo Kante’s second-half winner saw off Jose Mourinho’s United, who had Ander Herrera dismissed nine minutes before half-time.

Herrera was sent off for a second yellow card following a foul on Hazard, who was the victim of a number of crunching challenges.

Blues boss Conte, who squared up to United’s former Chelsea manager Mourinho during angry scenes in the first half, said: “We want to play football. It was impossible for Hazard to play football for 25 minutes – he received only kicks. Referees must protect these players.”

The Italian added: “He (Hazard) showed great character – strong character.

“I think after the first 25 minutes every player (would usually) fear receiving the ball. It was very difficult and very dangerous.

“But he showed great character. I’m learning to know him very well and I can tell you he is a strong character, and he showed it today.”

Chelsea’s victory was a club-record 13th consecutive home win and set up a semi-final showdown with Tottenham at Wembley.

“We must be pleased about this. To arrive in the semi-final and to play at Wembley is for us very special,” Conte said.

“To play against United is not easy. They have one of the best squads in the league and they showed this.”

Meanwhile, Mourinho responded to being barracked by some Chelsea fans by declaring: “I’m number one.”