Victor Moses 'was tired and didn't want to cheat the referee,' says Antonio Conte
Antonio Conte has defended Victor Moses after his red card in the FA Cup final against Arsenal and insisted he “didn’t want to cheat the referee”, claiming that if the wing-back is perceived to have dived the moment was likely out of fatigue.
Moses was dismissed for a second booking in Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat at Wembley, after a fall in the box on 68 minutes that referee Anthony Taylor judged to be simulation. Conte’s side were at that point losing 1-0 and pushing to get back into the game, with Moses having been booked 11 minutes earlier for a foul on the breaking Danny Welbeck, and the manager argued that the pressure of the day was also a factor.
“I don't know for sure but there is a lot of attention in this moment,” Conte said. “Sometimes I think it could be tiredness and I don't think - and I repeat - if my player dived he did it with the real intention to do this. We are at the end of the season and a lot of players are tired and then there is a lot of pressure.
"For sure it is not a good situation to dive, it is true. But I repeat Moses is an honest player and if there was this situation he was tired and he didn't want to cheat the referee.”
Conte said he will take a few days off before beginning Chelsea’s planning for the new season, ahead of what is set to be a busy summer in which the Blues are expected to make up to six new signings. He also stressed how “incredible” the club’s “tough” campaign had been, despite ending with disappointment.
“Now, for me, it’s very important to take two or three days to rest and also to be a bit relaxed after this season. This season was very, very tough for many aspects. For this reason, the best way for me is to take two or three days with my family and to stay with them and then to try to prepare for a new season.
“It will be very important to analyse this season and our squad for this season, and we reached an incredible target with the players that performed 120 per cent every single player. We didn’t have any injuries this season which was because of our good work but was also very lucky. Because a traumatic injury and it doesn’t depend on the work you do.
"Next season will be another tough season for all the teams. But don’t forget this season we didn’t have a squad like [Manchester] United, like [Manchester] City, like Tottenham [Hotspur] and like Arsenal the same. Now it’s important to understand this and find the right solution because don’t forget we weren’t the champions and now we start next season as the champions.”
Conte also said that he will keep his runners-up medal from the defeat to Arsenal, a result that means he has still never won a knock-out competition.
“I think it is right always to keep the medals. It is out respect for the opponent. This medal is from my one season in England in the final we finish with a defeat and I must be very proud to receive this and keep this medal.”