Conte: Ake ready

Antonio Conte has indicated Nathan Ake will start today's semi-final and the boss has no doubt the young player will perform to the levels required.

Both of Ake’s appearances for Chelsea since returning from his loan at Bournemouth have come in the FA Cup, and with the news Gary Cahill will not be part of today’s matchday squad the Dutchman is in line to feature on the left side of the back three at Wembley.

‘He deserves to have this chance to play because he has always shown me in all this period great commitment,’ Conte said.

‘He works very hard. His behaviours are great, fantastic. He never said nothing. Don’t forget he was playing every game with Bournemouth and he wanted to come and stay with us and try to work together and help us fight for the title.

‘He is a good player, he is ready to have this opportunity, this chance. He deserves this opportunity and I trust him. I have no problem taking this decision. In this system Ake has the right characteristics to be the substitute to Gary.’

With another game on the horizon so soon after today’s, Conte is conscious of finding the best approach for his players to keep them fresh and fit for the league challenges that await, starting with Tuesday’s clash with Southampton. That will influence his thinking today.

‘It’s not a simple situation. You have to play a semi-final in a big competition and then two-and-a-half days later we have to play against Southampton, who are rested for 10 days.

‘You have to find the balance. In this case the work is above all tactical work, not physical work, because we have to play a lot of games in a few days.

‘You must have a strong effort. You must have a plan in your mind and then make the best decision, but you only do that if you win!

‘It’s a great moment for everyone,’ Conte added. ‘We have worked a lot to arrive at this point of the season, in a semi-final and fighting for the title.

‘We have to enjoy this moment, to be compact, to help each other, and to live it with joy.’
 

ANTONIO CONTE: I am excited to take my team to Wembley