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Conte press conference: Injuries, Chelsea ambitions, indomitable Manchester City

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And the formula for success

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Speaking ahead of Chelsea’s Premier League clash against Manchester City, who have stamped their authority on this season and asserted their dominance as the best team, not only in Manchester, but in the entire country, a rather tired-looking Conte talked injuries, ambition, and unbeatable Manchester City.

The press conference began with questions regarding Chelsea’s injury situation. Conte, who seemed unimpressed by the question, spoke about how the injuries, “are always the same” and ruled out Bakayoko, Luiz and Ampadu for the game on Sunday. No estimated return date was mentioned for any of the 3 players. He was also specifically asked, later on in the conference, about the fitness situation of Barkley and he said the English midfielder was fit and will travel to Manchester with the squad — but, at best, will only be on the bench.

“Ross Barkley trained with us this week and now he’s recovered from his injury. He will come with us and then I will decide if I find a place on the bench for him, or if he will be in the stand for another week.”

-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC

The next question came straight out of a, “How to Small Talk 101” book as the journalist asked about the weather. Yep, the weather. What’s next on the menu? Politics? This is why Conte’s the manager and we’re here, I suppose. He managed to answer it without letting his eyes roll.

The big topic on the table was obviously Manchester City, their amazing form and how have they managed to do what they did. Well, I don’t know ... but getting one of the world’s best managers and spending £448 million in 19 months for that manager might have something to do with it but I’m no rocket scientist!

Formula for success by Conte: Competence + Money = Success. These are not my words, these are the words of the boss (at around 11:07 of the video) and I completely agree with him.

Conte was then asked about how he planned on defeating City and the importance of it. He described them as unstoppable and how every player player will have to be on form to get a good result but it will be difficult. Manchester City’s dominance is shown by the fact that they’re 16 points ahead of city rivals and the 2nd placed team in the division, Manchester United; and 22(!) points ahead of us; losing only once this entire season. Unstoppable indeed.

“For us in this moment we have to try to get a place in the Champions League and it won’t be easy because there are many teams who are very strong, but we must be ready to fight.”

“At this moment, to see an advantage against a team like them is very difficult but we have to prepare for the game in the right way, hope to have our players in good form and try to fight for a good result. At this moment they seem unstoppable.”

-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC

Conte was also asked on Chelsea’s ambitions, as compared to City’s and if the top 4 trophy is the “height of the ambitions that a club like Chelsea has”. Decent question there, Mr. Journalist, though inherently silly in a league with 4-6 teams vying for the title and every year and without any of them being able to defend said title in the last decade — and Conte diverted to just talking about ambition in general, saying that it’s the club’s (board’s) duty to decide the ambitions (i.e. spend the money) and it’s the managers duty to work hard and achieve the aforementioned ambitions. This will undoubtedly be talked up as another “sly dig” at the board from Conte, but he’s simply describing how this works at every club.

The last couple of questions of the press conference were about Morata’s form, or lack thereof; and the rumours of Conte’s supposed interest in the Italian National job. To the former, Conte replied that Morata has to work hard and how, after an injury, it’s important to have patience and to work hard. Work work work! To the latter question, he refused to give an answer since he has answered it all before. Conte has mentioned numerous times that he still has one and a half years left on his contract and how he intends to honour it.

That’s all, folks!