Antonio previews our Carabao Cup semi-final, first leg at Chelsea
Tue 04 January 2022, 14:30|Tottenham Hotspur
Antonio Conte isn’t expecting the teams to consider the ‘long game’ when we take on Chelsea in the first leg of our Carabao Cup semi-final at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening (7.45pm).
Our Head Coach returns to his former club expecting a typical all-action London derby encounter, not a case of the teams looking at what they might need for the second leg at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium next Wednesday (12 January, 7.45pm). The second semi-final is between Arsenal and Liverpool.
Asked how we might approach the first leg, and if it might be a case of ‘keeping it tight’ in the away leg for the second leg at home, Antonio told us: “In England, it’s very difficult to try to think, ‘okay, in the first leg, we want to play this way and reach this result’ because, in England, you have to play every game in the same way, and try to get a good result.
“We know very well that Chelsea are an amazing team, they won the Champions League last season, and they improved the squad compared to last season. It will be very difficult for us, but, at the same time, in this type of game, you can prove to yourselves the level you are at in this moment. It will be important for us to have a good game and to get a good result in the first leg.”
Most of the pre-match focus will be on Antonio’s first match back at the Bridge, having led the Blues to the Premier League title in his first season (2016/17) and the FA Cup in 2018, before departing that summer.
“This will be the first time (back) after my experience at Chelsea,” he said. “For sure, for me, I will have good emotions. I spent two years there, I enjoyed my two years at Chelsea, we did a really good job, and I had a lot of good friendships there.
“When you work well and you give everything for a club, you leave something positive with the fans. I’m a coach and manager who, when I get a job in a club, I’m the first to go into the club with a sense of belonging. It’s very important to transfer this to the players. I’m ready to give 100 per cent and more for the club where I work and I think when the fans understand your attitude, they are happy.”