Before we get to all the Conte vs. Mourinho shenanigans, which we can no longer ignore, here are a few of Conte’s thoughts about the match itself, which was a rather forgettable affair, most notable for the fact that it introduces yet another game into an already congested schedule. That replay is likely to be played in about 10 days’ time, stuck-in between the Leicester City and Brighton games, a week before going back to the Emirates for the second leg of the League Cup semifinal.
“For sure there is a bit of disappointment because to have another match in a schedule so busy is not easy, is not simple, but we tried to win the game. We knew very well before we played tonight the game would be very tough. When you play this trophy, especially away, it’s very difficult.”
If Chelsea were trying to win, we sure weren’t reflecting that attitude on the pitch, especially in a beyond dire first half. And while the second period brought some improvement, it wasn’t enough.
“Our movement wasn’t good enough. We found a lot of difficulty to find the right space. Sometimes we lost our order, our combination play, but I think in the second half we did better. At the same time you have to praise the opponent because Norwich played a good game, defended very well and the final result was fair.”
“The game was very tough, especially in the first half. We had difficulty offensively, we were poor. In the second half we tried to improve and created chances to score. At the end I think Norwich deserve a replay at Stamford Bridge. They defended very well, showed they were well organised. I must be pleased with the commitment for my players.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC
Bad days happen (in fact, we were just talking about Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Southend at the Bridge back in 2008-09 in this same round), and at least we didn’t lose — Norwich were not nearly good enough for that. But that also makes this just all-around annoying, especially with the replay coming up, in which Conte will have little choice but to trot out basically the same lineup thanks. Hopefully, they’ll produce something more than just commitment then.