Antonio Conte: Michael Emenalo's surprise Chelsea exit a 'big loss'


The Blues looked dead and buried in the race for Champions League qualification a few weeks ago but they've made a late charge to catch Liverpool after winning four of their last five Premier League games.

(REX/Shutterstock) Chelsea failed to shine on the final day of the Premier League season. "I think the time I start listening to the speculation about me, this is the moment I start to be anxious".

"I think I'm living with this speculation since the start of this season", he said.

"I would like to thank Rafa Benitez for his magnificent achievement this season", he said. Then we don't know, at the end of the season, if we have friendly games [before the World Cup].

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"For sure we must change, if we play a game like this in the FA Cup we don't have a chance".

"And we've seen slowly but surely that the manager has become overcome with the situation, he's not his normal self".

Further forward, Conte should go with his most-favourable pick of Willian and Eden Hazard on the right and left side of the attack whilst we are backing Olivier Giroud to reclaim his starting role after another failure for Alvaro Morata.

"I am working with my players this season and it is not right to say something about this". His elevation to assistant first-team coach under Carlo Ancelotti came at the expense of Ray Wilkins, a club legend whose departure in many eyes undermined the Italian.

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"There is a great disappointment for me because I like to play to win and to finish fifth for me is a big disappointment".

It was a tribute to all Benitez has done this season, as well as a plea for him to stay and build on a hugely encouraging first season back in the top flight. "Three with Juventus and one with Chelsea and when I start I have always won", he said.

"I am very happy for last season and this season and don't forget, if you're clever, you learn and you continue to learn and improve yourself and try to be better in the future". At the beginning, we were thinking that the target was to stay up, and I can read about a lot of managers now saying, "Great because we are safe", but we were safe five games before, so that is incredible.

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Marseille winger Florian Thauvin, the other nominee, finished fourth in Sunday's Ligue 1 awards ceremony in Paris . It was a really great season - thank you, everybody".