Chelsea's Antonio Conte backing Eden Hazard to put team first

Hazel Gray
April 25, 2017

Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris has admitted that his side's 4-2 semi-final loss to Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-finals will give their London rivals a psychological advantage in the race for the English Premiership title this season.

We have ordered them by win percentage - starting with Spurs, click the right arrow, above, to see whose record makes the best reading*.

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has rebuffed claims from Blues midfielder Cesc Fabregas that Eden Hazard needs to be more selfish in order to reach similar levels to five-time Ballon d'Or victor Lionel Messi.

But Conte reckons players can only be great by playing as part of a team.

"The first target for every great champion is to play for the team and to put your talent in the team", said Conte.

"I think he's a silent leader, and a leader on the pitch by example. They have a lot of good players".

Chelsea can take another step towards the title against Southampton on Tuesday night, but Conte enjoyed pointing out at his press conference that the top two teams, Chelsea and Tottenham, have spent significantly less on players recently than City and United. This is not my idea of football.

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"In my team, I don't want selfish players". It has left Pochettino again relying on a small group of players and, crucially, without enough flexibility or firepower to call upon during games.

Of course, even if Tottenham found themselves at the head of the queue with an acceptable offer, there is the question of whether Zaha would want to join a club where he is unlikely to be a first-choice player. For all intents and purposes, Southampton's season was over after United lucked into a win over them in the League Cup final.

'Not only Dele, I can not guarantee nothing in life, ' said Pochettino, when asked about reports of Manchester City's interest in Tottenham's England midfielder Dele Alli.

"It's a great achievement for us but if you ask me if this win over Spurs means more - I don't think so". On the other hand, the Blues have come unstuck in two of their previous four, but did react with the FA Cup semi-success over Tottenham to somewhat stop the blip. And for us it's great.

"Now it's a good season. We need to start this rush (of fixtures) with a win and to keep the lead". With Spurs only in action on Wednesday, Chelsea have the opportunity of moving seven points clear, at least temporarily.

Three games in eight days follow, at home to relegation-threatened Middlesbrough, at West Brom and against the Baggies' fellow mid-table side Watford at Stamford Bridge.

Tottenham appear to have a more hard run-in, with fixtures against Palace, Arsenal, West Ham, Manchester United, Leicester and Hull. What's more, Chelsea are very much healthy, with only Gary Cahill in any doubt. However, Saturday's FA Cup semifinal defeat to Chelsea brought the issue back into the spotlight.

Other reports by VgToday

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