Mourinho diversions aside, Antonio Conte has a habit of sounding like a broken record in his press conferences. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, if, like last year, the record that’s skipping is about working hard, paying great attention, and playing with belief, ambition, and commitment. It’s less of a good thing when the repeated words start including things about needing to be more clinical, which has been a trend all season, but especially as of late.
It’s not often Chelsea produce back-to-back 0-0 draws — we have to go back to the very beginning of the Benitez era, to November 2012 for the last occurence of this (0-0 at home against both Manchester City and Fulham in the space of 4 days) — and while the personnel used in the two games were drastically different (the backups played against Norwich City), the trend remains worrying. Then again, as Conte has also been pointing out, it would be more concerning if, as against Norwich for much of the game, we’d fail to create any chances. That wasn’t necessarily the case, although the game was nowhere near as open as last week’s 2-2 against Arsenal.
Conte on finishing: "We shot 20 times, we created chances to score. We must be more clinical, we must be better offensively, otherwise you finish with a draw. This is the 2nd 0-0 in a row, these are the stats, we must reflect" #CFC #CHEARS— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) January 10, 2018
Conte on finishing: "You must be more worried if you don't create chances to score. I think in every game we create chances to score, I think many reasons [why we don't finish]. Maybe we are also unlucky" #CHEARS #CFC— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) January 10, 2018
So, it all comes down to the second leg in two weeks back at the Emirates. Arsenal may have the slight edge (though away goals only count in extra-time), but Conte’s not discouraged and despite his horrendous personal record against the Gunners, we shouldn’t be either.
Conte on performance: "I think it would be better to win the game. To win the game also 1-0. I think that the positive things are that we didn't concede a goal, when you play a semi-final over two games and don't concede at home, it can be important" #CFC #CHEARS— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) January 10, 2018
Conte dismisses suggestion that Arsenal are now in control of the tie: "We have the same possibility to play the final, 50/50. Not conceding a goal could be important for the second leg" #cfc— Liam Twomey (@liam_twomey) January 10, 2018
Not conceding will be even more important for the second leg, as will be scoring. The pressure’s on; we’ll just have to perform.