Friday 24 November 2017

Antonio Conte pleased with fringe players as Chelsea beat Wolves

Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte, right, praised the impact of the likes of John Terry, left, in the FA Cup win at Wolves
Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte, right, praised the impact of the likes of John Terry, left, in the FA Cup win at Wolves

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."

The result might have been different and Wolves might have claimed another Premier League scalp had George Saville netted after five minutes.

The Chelsea academy graduate instead was left to rue hitting a post as Wolves were unable to follow up wins over Stoke and Liverpool in the previous two rounds.

Saville told wolves.co.uk: "I could've scored. It dropped quite nicely and I hit it as cleanly as I could.

"I'm disappointed that didn't hit the back of the net. I felt sick to the stomach after that.

"We had a couple of chances. If one of those went in it would've been a different ball game."

Saville now hopes Wolves can show their cup form to climb the Sky Bet Championship table, beginning against rivals Birmingham on Friday night.

He added: "It was a big occasion. We didn't disappoint. We've got no regrets.

"We've gone toe to toe with them, we've pushed them.

"Now we need to take that into next Friday. We couldn't have asked for a better game, against our rivals under the lights.

"All our focus now is on the league. We've got no distractions.

"We need to get back to the level we've shown and start climbing that table."

Press Association

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