In the spirit of the holiday that just past, May the 4th, there is “a new hope” for embattled Chelsea manager Antonio Conte and his side. In beating Liverpool 1-0 at home today, the Blues upset the balance in the force of the top four race. They’re now only two points behind the pace for a top four finish, but they will need some help to get there.
“We must be pleased because the players played a really good game,” Conte said in postgame. “Usually when you have to play a must-win game, it’s not easy. It’s normal to be a bit nervous. Today it was a must-win game, but not against a simple opponent.”
“We must be pleased with our will to fight and desire, and will to keep the hope alive to take a place in the Champions League. I don’t know if this will be enough at the end of the season, but we have to try.”
“Now we have to prepare the game on Wednesday against Huddersfield, another tough team who are playing to avoid relegation and drew at Manchester City, but we want to try and get three points.”
After hosting Huddersfield Town Wednesday night, the Blues head to Newcastle United on Championship Sunday. Tottenham Hotspur (holding down the last top four position by two points) host Newcastle Wednesday and head to Leicester City Sunday.
Liverpool (up one on Spurs, three on Chelsea, but also having played one more game already than the other two contenders) host Brighton & Hove Albion Sunday.
Chelsea’s top four hopes for this season looked dead in the water as recently as last week. The Blues started 2018 miserably and their slump continued to April. Antonio Conte was asked in his postgame news conference is he had ever given up hope on reaching the opt four this season.
“One month ago it was impossible to imagine we’d arrive at the end to fight for a place in the Champions League. Now there is hope,” he responded.
“We are getting three points in every game. Our opponents are dropping points. But our future is not in our hands. We have to try, though. We have to try to get three points to put pressure on the teams ahead of us.”
For more on the top four race go to this link.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.
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