Conte praises fringe stars after FA Cup progress

Date published: Sunday 19th February 2017 11:49

Head coach Antonio Conte praised the likes of John Terry after Chelsea advanced to the FA Cup quarter-finals.

Terry’s only starts since September have been in the cup competitions as Chelsea have established an eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League.

But the 36-year-old captain was part of a strong defensive showing as Chelsea beat Wolves 2-0 at Molineux on Saturday.

Terry’s current contract expires at the end of the season and his spell at Stamford Bridge could yet end with a league and cup double.

Cesc Fabregas, Nathaniel Chalobah, Kurt Zouma, Nathan Ake, Asmir Begovic and Willian also came into the side following the previous week’s 1-1 Premier League draw at Burnley.

Conte told Chelsea TV: “I made seven changes. I had a good answer of the players that usually don’t play a lot.

“I know it’s not easy when you don’t play every game, to play and have a good performance.

“It happened. I’m very happy for my players. I’m very happy for the team.”

Conte’s side next play struggling Swansea in the Premier League, with the Italian eager to carry the momentum from another win until the end of the season.

He added: “Now it’s important to continue in this way. We are in two competitions. We have the possibility to go into the next round, to arrive at the end.

“It’s important to know we have to work very hard, to continue with this concentration, with this will to fight and to go ahead.”

He will not be underestimating Swansea on Saturday, though.

“Now it’s important to have a rest and then to restart to prepare for another tough game against Swansea,” Conte added.

“If someone thinks the Swansea game is easy, they make a great mistake.”

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