Conference Call: Danger averted

After watching a convincing FA Cup victory for his team, Antonio Conte spoke in depth about the man who got the first two goals, Michy Batshuayi.

The Belgian struck twice before half-time to put us in a commanding position against Newcastle and our place in the fifth round was made secure by a sublime Marcos Alonso free-kick 20 minutes from team.

Before talking about Batshuayi, Conte revealed how impressed he was with the manner in which his players were able to break down the Magpies and avoid an upset…

‘It was a good performance,’ the boss said. ‘It wasn’t easy because Newcastle prepared a very defensive game with five players on the edge of the box, three midfielders very deep, and two strikers to mark our central midfielders.

‘It was very important to score the first goal. Pedro and Hazard created a fantastic chance with their ability, then Michy scored. After this goal the situation was simpler for us. In the second half we controlled the game and didn’t risk conceding a goal.

‘We must be very happy because it wasn’t easy. When the draw faces you with another Premier League team it’s never easy. You can see Liverpool’s game against West Brom, Tottenham’s game. This competition is very dangerous for the great teams.’

Batshuayi scored his ninth and tenth goals of the season

‘I don’t know if it was his best game, but it was very important for the team and for him. For the striker to score is very important for confidence. We are talking about a young player with great potential. Today I showed the most important thing is the present, not the future, otherwise I would have taken other choices.

‘Michy has worked with us for one-and-a-half years, and he has improved a lot in many tactical situations. We are talking about a powerful player because he is strong physically, and for sure he has a lot of space for improvement.

‘My task is to work with him and every player and try to improve them, and if I do that the team improves. I am very happy for him and for the team. Now we have to continue in this way.’

Conte spoke about transfer speculation linking Batshuayi with a move away before the window closes on Wednesday

‘If you see our squad, we don’t have three, four or five strikers, we have two, and Hazard who is a different striker who can play in this way.

‘For the press, it depends a lot if the striker scores or doesn’t score. For me, it’s important to score, but at the same time, it’s important the striker has to work very well for the team. In this way, Michy has improved a lot, and then the club will make the best decision.

'When you have to play the league, the Champions League and then the FA Cup, three strikers is the minimum. Then we have to see what will happen during the transfer market. I don’t know if we will be able to get another player, but if we do, it doesn’t mean Michy has to go on loan. We have a lot of competition.

‘If the club decides to add another player, I don’t know if Michy wants to stay or wants to go on loan. In this case it will be the player’s decision, not my decision, because I am ready to continue working with these players because I am very happy with them.’

Our next assignment is against Bournemouth, also on Wednesday, and Conte was asked if Alvaro Morata would be fit for the game

‘Probably. He is going to start training from tomorrow, but not with us. After a period of rest, tomorrow he will start training.

‘After an injury of this type, he needs a bit of time to recover, but at the same time we hope to have this player very soon.’

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