Conte: Celebrate the best

Antonio Conte set two remaining targets for this Premier League season when he spoke to the media on Friday afternoon at Cobham, and he also considered the one remaining game at Stamford Bridge for John Terry.

The game at home to Sunderland wraps our magnificent league championship-winning campaign before we contest the FA Cup final the following weekend, and the manager is keeping it a surprise whether Terry will start on Sunday or not as the curtain comes down on his immense Chelsea career.

What Conte did do when speaking to the reporters is point out very few have careers of such magnitude and mentioned Italian greats Francesco Totti, Alessandro Del Piero and Paolo Maldini as comparable.

‘John deserves the best,’ Conte said. ‘He is a legend for this club and in this season he has been very important to winning this title, and for this reason I have to take my time and make my best decision for him.’

Conte added that although there has been talk of possible retirement for our captain in the past few days, he firmly believes Terry can still play regularly somewhere, which is the player’s motivation for leaving Chelsea.

‘John is strong and the moments I have called him to play he has shown this. In this point in your career it is important to feel your body and your mind, to feel if you have still the desire and will to fight and to work very hard every day. If you feel this then it is right to continue to play. I think John has all of these characteristics.’

The question was asked whether Gary Cahill is the natural replacement as club captain next season.

‘Gary is our vice-captain in this season, and he has put on the armband every time John did not play,’ Conte responded, ‘and for sure Gary has the good prospect to be a good captain but now it is important to finish this season because to start to think about next season is very dangerous because we have targets to reach.

‘On Sunday we have two targets, to try to win the 30 games in this league, which would be an unbelievable target for us, and to help Thibaut to win the Golden Glove. And also to prepare the right way the FA Cup final against Arsenal.

‘It is important to celebrate because this title is a great win, for me, for the players, for the club and for our fans. On Sunday we have to try to win the game and then to celebrate this league is very important. I can’t wait to do this with my players and with the fans, and also to celebrate John, that will be very important and also to celebrate [assistant coach] Steve Holland, because he is leaving after eight years and he is an important man in this club. He has won a lot and he worked with many coaches and I have the pleasure to work with him in this season.‘


Race for the Premier League Golden Glove

Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea)          16

Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)             15

David De Gea (Man Utd)            14

Fraser Forster (Southampton)     14