Saturday, 24 February 2018

Antonio Conte sends warning to Willian ahead of Manchester United showdown


Antonio Conte has defended his decision to bench Willian this season, insisting no Chelsea player will start for the side until they can earn his trust.

Willian has recently returned to the starting line-up for Chelsea, and played a starring role against Barcelona during the week.

Some Chelsea fans have questioned why Willian has been consistently left out this season, but Conte has dismissed concerns about his team selections.

Willian is in line to play against Manchester United on Sunday, but Conte warned the Brazilian his spot was not safe regardless of his last performance.

‘You think that I am stupid? When I put Willy on the bench?’ Conte said at his pre-match press conference.

‘I have to try and make the best decision for the team, no? Maybe last season we won the title, or did I forget something?

‘Now he is playing because he deserves to play. But not because there is some regret from the past. For what?

‘If a player deserves to play, and shows me during the training session that he is on top of his form, and wants to work defensively, he plays.

‘If not, stay on the bench, stay in the stands. But this is not only for one player, but for all my players. This is what a winning mentality is.

Chelsea 2017/18 Fixtures

Manchester United (A) – Sun Feb 25

Manchester City (A) – Sun March 4

Crystal Palace (H) – Sat March 10

Barcelona – Champions League (A) – Wed March 14

Leicester City – FA Cup (A) – Sat March 17

Tottenham (H) – Sun April 1

West Ham (H) – Sat April 7

Southampton (A) – Sat April 14

Huddersfield Town (H) – Sat April 21

‘Not if one player is happy or if he is not happy if he doesn’t play. It doesn’t matter. I have to make the best decision for the team.

‘He is playing now and I am very happy with my choice. Willian deserved to start in the previous game, and played well.

‘I did a fantastic choice, and I want to take credit for that.’

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