Antonio Conte made seven changes to his starting lineup for Saturday’s FA Cup 5th round match against Wolverhampton Wanderers, not quite as many as he had made in previous rounds of the competition. First-choice players Diego Costa, Eden Hazard, Pedro and Victor Moses were all selected, with two of them getting on the scoresheet in Chelsea 2-0 win.
Despite the stronger team selection, Chelsea had a rather uneven game, playing well only for about the last 30 minutes of the contest. In the end however, what matters is the win and getting into the last eight of the competition, where we will face Manchester United at home in a few weeks.
"I made seven changes. I had a good answer of the players that usually don't play a lot. I know it's not easy when you don't play every game, to play and have a good performance. It happened. I'm very happy for my players. I'm very happy for the team."
"Now it's important to continue in this way. We are in two competitions. We have the possibility to go into the next round, to arrive at the end. It's important to know we have to work very hard, to continue with this concentration, with this will to fight and to go ahead."
But until the FA Cup quarterfinals, which are set to take place the weekend of March 11, Chelsea have two games to play in the Premier League. The first one will be against Swansea City at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. As usual, Conte’s already turned his attention to what will be a tough game against a recently resurgent side — under new head coach Paul Clement, the former assistant to Carlo Ancelotti at Chelsea (and PSG and Real and Bayern), Swans have won three of their last four matches to move up to 15th place.
"Now it's important to have a rest and then to restart to prepare for another tough game against Swansea. If someone thinks the Swansea game is easy, they make a great mistake."
-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea TV via Sky Sports
Each week the Premier League, and this weekend the FA Cup as well, remind us that there are no easy games in the competition, which is partially why it’s great to have an eight-point cushion at the top. That cushion decreased for the first time in many weeks after the draw against Burnley. Now it’s important to get back on the winning track.