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Antonio Conte keeps faith in 'great defender' Gary Cahill: 'He plays tomorrow'


Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Antonio Conte has placed great emphasis on molding Chelsea into a tight knit family -- win together, lose together, etc -- so understandably, he wouldn't throw any of his players under the bus in public comments.  But in his pre-match media briefing, he's gone step further and has thrown his full support behind the error-prone (of late) Gary Cahill.  (That's not to say that Cahill never made errors before, but they used to be of the far less glaring variety.)

"When we lose, we lose together. Not just because of one mistake. There was a single mistake, but we had 80 minutes to recover the situation. And, in 80 minutes, we didn't recover it."

"A single mistake can happen during a game. I hope we can improve also on this aspect, but I don't like to single out players for individual mistakes. We lose and we win together. We must understand this. If someone makes a mistake, together we must help him and solve the situation."

"Against Arsenal we had 80 minutes to solve the situation and repair the mistake. Cahill is a good player, a great defender and a great player. I trust him and he plays tomorrow."

-Antonio Conte; source: Evening Standard

The bit at the end elevates all this from empty platitudes to actual belief.  Conte cannot drop Cahill tomorrow after making these comments, so unless there's a last minute injury, Cahill will be out there once again next to David Luiz.  Presumably, this also means that Ivanovic continues at right back instead of center back and Marcos Alonso starts on the bench.

What could possibly go wrong?

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