Sunday, 22 April, 2018

Conte: Players must have great respect for the badge

Olivier Giroud GETTY Olivier Giroud has revealed that leaving Arsenal for Chelsea was easy
Rita Gibson | 17 April, 2018, 16:37

Two players clearly not singing from the same hymn sheet underlines the lack of unity that exists under Conte and it will be patently obvious in the upcoming matches against Southampton if this remains the case. "We have got five finals to play, after that we will see". He may have a Tore Andre Flo/David Fairclough knack of scoring goals as a substitute, but can he do likewise as a regular starter?

And he told any player thinking of jumping ship if they miss out on the top four that they have a responsibility to stick around and get the club back into the Champions League.

It remains to be seen if he would be tempted by a return to the Stamford Bridge, though the chance to prove himself in the Premier League again, should Chelsea be unable to land their other top targets, will nearly certainly give him plenty to deliberate.

Conte, however, dismissed the suggestion that his players could lose interest in their remaining Premier League matches as a result of their situation.

Southampton got off to the flawless start as they opened the scoring in the 20th minute when Dustan Tadic tapped home from close range following some great work from Ryan Bertrand down the left. But Conte's inspired second half substitution helped the reigning champions stage a stunning comeback to break Saints hearts.

The football world reacts as Man City win the Premier League
With five games to go City, who beat Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, have 87 points to the 71 of second-placed United. Better still, they swept opponents aside with style and swagger, scoring 93 league goals so far (United have 63).

"I am disappointed in the first half, I am the first to take the fault for that, but in the second half my players deserved credit". This is the best possible way for a player to show they are a fantastic professional'. "Chelsea are a massive club and we want to challenge for the title every single year".

"We made a lot of mistakes this season". Now, the most important thing is that my players, they have had this reaction, it doesn't matter if the coach speaks at half-time or says anything [at all].

"But I saw a great reaction". They have to play for the club, for our fans, and to show great character like they did in this game. I'm pleased for me and the team.

The 22-year-old's finish showed the composure and technique of a striker, and he demonstrated to Hughes he can be trusted in the first team for the rest of the season with some solid enough defending, too, despite what was to come.

Southampton's hopes of surviving relegation from the Premier League took a hammer blow on Saturday afternoon.

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