We take a look at the key stories concerning Chelsea from the day.
Conte sad that Steve Holland is leaving
Antonio Conte has spoken about assistant coach Steve Holland’s departure next season. Holland confirmed yesterday that this season with Chelsea would be his last as he decided to make his role as England manager Gareth Southgate’s No. 2 a full-time one. Holland has been working with Chelsea since 2009 and will now be leaving the club at the end of this season.
Conte has said that he is sad to see Holland go, but that he understands the Englishman’s decision.
“Now is for Steve to be focused on this season because this season is very important for us. Steve is a very good professional and he is helping me a lot in my experience with Chelsea because he has great experience with this club.”
“It is a pity to lose him, I must be honest, but also I can understand him with this choice, because this type of situation can arrive only once in a life, to be a coach or assistant coach of your national team,” he said, according to the club’s official website.
“For this reason I understand him but it is a pity because I work with well with him.”
Charly Musonda to return to Chelsea
Charly Musonda will return to Chelsea, with Real Betis opting to cut short his loan spell, according to Sky Sports. Musonda, who is very highly rated, was linked with the likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester United before Chelsea finally snapped up the youngster in 2012.
The Belgian U-21 international spent the second half of last season on loan with the Spanish outfit and was impressive enough that Betis decided to get him on loan once again, this time for the entire season.
However, Musonda has struggled for both form and fitness this season and has only managed 8 appearances. Sky Sports also claim that Musonda has fallen out with manager Gus Poyet and that Betis are expected to confirm the news that his loan will be cut short in the next few days.
Conte thinks Lampard still has time left in his career
Antonio Conte feels that Lampard’s time as a footballer is not up just yet. The Chelsea legend returned to Stamford Bridge earlier this week after leaving New York City FC and this has prompted speculation that he might take up a coaching role at Chelsea. However, Conte said that Lampard wants to continue playing but did not specify whether they had spoken about a coaching role or not.
“It is very nice to see him [Lampard],” Conte said, according to the club’s official website.
“He is a legend of this club and it is fantastic when he comes to see the training sessions and talk to us and be with former team-mates. I found him in good form.”
“I think wants to continue to play football and he is in good shape to continue to play. Then for his future it is better to ask him.”
Willian talks new formation and training under Conte
Willian has talked about how Chelsea’s new formation affords him more freedom on the pitch and how it has helped him, Diego Costa and Eden Hazard perform better this season. The Brazilian has only managed 13 appearances in the league this season – 5 of which have come as a substitute – and has scored 3 goals and picked up 1 assist. He missed a few games after being granted compassionate leave by Chelsea due to the death of his mother in October.
Willian – who has been linked with a reunion with his former manager – has still managed to see the merits of Antonio Conte’s system in that short time and feels that this system is much better for Chelsea than the one used under Jose Mourinho.
“We have changed it a little bit,” he said, according to Sky Sports. “There’s more freedom. I have more freedom to play. I can move inside, I can go to the left and to the right and I think it’s much better. The new formation helps players like me, helps Diego [Costa] and helps [Eden] Hazard in front. We can move around as we have that freedom.”
Willian also revealed how training under Conte is intense, but said that the way they train has given them much more confidence this season :
“It’s intense,” he said. “He likes to work. We train hard. Sometimes it’s two hours of intense training. We always have a plan going into the game and we have to trust in the plan. We’ve done that.”
“The way we are training makes us more confident in the games too. We can run and put pressure on the opponents. And when you win game by game, this brings even more confidence. We have to keep it going. The target is to stay together and to play together. If we trust in our team-mates then we have a great chance to win the title this season.”
It seems like everyone has fully bought into the manager’s philosophy this season and Chelsea’s performances in the league show it.