Conte gives guarded response over final team news; talks Chelsea future

Date published: Friday 18th May 2018 2:24

Antonio Conte was giving little away about his team to play in tomorrow’s FA Cup final.

The Chelsea boss would only confirm that left-back Emerson was an absentee for the showpiece against Manchester United at Wembley.

The Italian told today’s pre-match press conference: “I don’t want to give you the starting XI. Tomorrow you will see. We have only Emerson out. And then no news about injuries.”

Speculation is rife the match will be Conte’s last after two years as head coach.

The Italian was giving little away as he said: “I can tell for sure this will be my last match this season. For me and my players it will be the last game, for us.

“Then, as you know very well, I have a contract and I’m committed to the club.”

Asked if he expected it to be a summer of change, Conte added: “I don’t know.

“For sure I think we must be focused on tomorrow’s game. For us this game is very important because we have, in a difficult season, to finish the season with a trophy.

“It’s always important for the players, for the coach, for the manager, for our fans, for the club, to finish the season with a trophy.

“We’re focused on this target. We have to try to do everything to win the game tomorrow.”

Conte has had a fractious relationship with United boss Jose Mourinho in the past.

The pair have engaged in a lengthy feud since the Italian’s arrival at Stamford Bridge. It began when Mourinho accused Conte of being disrespectful as United lost 4-0 at Stamford Bridge and ignited as the FA Cup began in January, with the insults growing in their intensity.

However, the Italian played down any conflict at the press conference, saying: “This is not important, what happened (in the past).

“There is a relationship between me and him (Mourinho). Tomorrow I will shake his hand and both of us will think of the game.”

United striker Romelu Lukaku needs a late fitness test on an ankle injury but Conte is not paying too much attention to whether the former Chelsea man features or not.

The Italian added: “We’re talking about an important player but Manchester United have the possibility to pick many important players.

“I don’t know what is the decision tomorrow. But for sure if Lukaku doesn’t play there are great players to play for him.

“You don’t change your plan or prepare your plan only for one player. If Lukaku is not playing it means they have another important striker. (Marcus) Rashford, for example, could play.”

 

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