Chelsea manager Antonio Conte on Thursday praised the performances of his strike pairing Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud in his side’s 2-1 win at Burnley and said the combination could be an option for tomorrow’s FA Cup semi-final against Southampton at Wembley.
Conte started with Belgian Eden Hazard on the bench, likely with tomorrow’s match in mind, and despite the unusual sight of two target men up front, the move paid off.
“We played with great spirit, we had a great desire and will to fight,” Conte told reporters. “It is not simple to play against Burnley, because if you give them space then they are ready to put in the long ball and be dangerous with the second ball. Our strikers, Giroud and Morata, did a great job, they played a fantastic game with a great sacrifice without the ball, and they put great pressure on the Burnley defense and forced them to play long from their own half which is less dangerous.”
“[It was good] to see Giroud and Morata play this way, a good combination, a good link between them, but also the way they press without the ball,” the former Juventus manager said.
“This could be an option for Sunday or for the future,” he said.
Both Morata and Giroud, who signed for Chelsea in January, have spent plenty of time on the bench this season, but they caused Burnley defenders James Tarkowski and Kevin Long plenty of trouble.
“This is the first time I tried this solution with the two strikers, but I got a response from them and in the future it could be a good option, the players showed this desire and will to sacrifice for the team,” Conte said.
However, Morata did miss a clear chance when he was put through one-on-one against Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope and shot wide, but Conte said his decision to substitute the Spaniard was simply about getting Hazard on the pitch for the latter stages.
Although FA Cup opponents Southampton are struggling in the relegation zone, Conte, whose side fought back to beat the Saints 3-2 last Saturday, said it would be wrong to see the game at Wembley as a formality.
“I hear that we are already in the final, but if you remember, and I do very well, that five days ago we were 2-0 down against Southampton and we played a disaster against them,” he said.
“We must pay attention, and play with the right desire and will to show that we want to play another final in the FA Cup,” he added. “It would be great for ourselves and our fans.”
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
TAIWANESE TO PLAY: Jason Jung faces Frederico Coria in the men’s singles first round today, while in the women’s singles, Hsieh Su-wei is to take on Barbara Haas Novak Djokovic is to renew his love-hate relationship with Roland Garros in the knowledge that it is himself rather than seemingly unsettled 12-time champion Rafael Nadal who could pose the greatest threat to winning a second Paris title and 18th Grand Slam crown. The only man to beat Djokovic this year is Djokovic after the Serb’s hair-trigger temper prompted a sensational disqualification from the US Open. The 33-year-old arrives in the French capital with a 31-1 record this year after his New York brain-fade was followed by a record 36th Masters title in Rome. Djokovic’s 2016 triumph at Roland Garros allowed him to
Taiwan’s Jason Jung was knocked out of the first round of the French Open in straight sets on Sunday, while Andy Murray said it was going to be “difficult” for the former world No. 1 to reach his level of old after he also fell to a lopsided defeat by fellow three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka. Jung fell to a 7-5, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/3) defeat to Argentina’s Federico Coria in 3 hours, 19 minutes at Roland Garros, despite hitting 55 winners. Jung served for both the first and second sets, then failed to convert two set points at 5-4 in
Michael Schumacher’s son Mick said that the prospect of Lewis Hamilton equaling the Ferrari great’s all-time record of 91 wins has given him something to aim for when he gets to Formula One. Hamilton, who replaced Michael Schumacher at Mercedes in 2013, can take his 91st victory in today’s Russian Grand Prix in Sochi — a race he has won four times previously. “One sentence my dad always used to say was: ‘Records are there to be broken.’ It’s everybody’s aim in this sport to do that,” Formula Two championship leader Mick Schumacher said on Friday. “I think Lewis had a very, very