This is it. The last game of the season. The final frontier. Chelsea go up against old enemies, Manchester United, in what promises to be a rather drab FA Cup final, a battle of wits and grit rather than flair and fun.
Chelsea and Manchester United have locked horns twice this season, both teams winning by a goal apiece at their respective home grounds. Thus, on a neutral ground, this game has all the makings of being a snooze fest.
Speaking in the pre-game press conference for the last time this season and possibly for the last time as a Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte spoke about injuries, the importance of winning the FA Cup and his relationship with Cheque-book Pulis. Let’s get into it!
"We must be focused on tomorrow and for us it is very important and we want to finish with a trophy and it is important for the coach, players, fans and the club. We are focused on this target.
"We need to be focused because we have an important game to play, a really important competition. The oldest in the world. My players will be focused on the game for sure. My expectation is this."
Of course, as we all very remember, Chelsea reached the FA Cup final last season as well, only to choke against Arsenal and lose the chance to complete a domestic double. The Blues will be looking to not make the same mistakes this time. For one, finishing the game with 11 players on the field will be a good start.
Conte himself doesn’t have a very good record in cup finals with Chelsea or Juventus and he’ll be determined to change that. In fact, the only time he ever reached a cup final with Juventus, was his first season in charge and he ended up losing 2-0 to Napoli in the Coppa Italia final, courtesy of goals by Cavani and Hamsik.
"This is a final. At the end of the day you have to win. It will be a tactical game. I don’t know what type of game. We will see. It will be tough. To get to the final, to finish the season and the possibility to play at Wembley for the second time in a row it is a great achievement for us and the fans. The most important thing is to win the trophy and the will and desire to lift it."
Of course, in order to achieve that, Chelsea will need to put their best foot forward and for that to happen, all the players need to be fit and raring to go. Unfortunately, Emerson is set to miss out on this last game of the season; while everyone else is fit.
Conte also spoke about his relationship and his feud with Jose Mourinho.
It seems that they have put their problems aside, a sentiment that was echoed by Jose as well recently, and we hope that this peace is here to stay.
Conte on meeting Mourinho at Old Trafford: "This is not important. What is important is that there is a normal relationship between me and him. I will shake his hand and then think about the game" #CFC #FACupFinal— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) May 18, 2018
Moving on, Conte also spoke about the FA Cup final being his last match as a Chelsea head coach with a little bit of a fun remark by saying that if there is one thing he can say with certainty, it’s that this will be his last match of this season. Thanks, Antonio!
"I can tell for sure this will be my last match this season. For sure. For me and the players the last game for us and then you know very well I have a contract and I am committed to the club."
That’s all, folks! That was everything of note from Conte’s last press conference of this season. Hopefully, we’re able to win the upcoming final against Manchester United and end this mediocre season with something to cheer for, as Blues go into another phase of transition, one of many in recent years.