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Conte: Palmieri is ready

Antonio Conte has confirmed Emerson Palmieri will feature against Burnley tomorrow evening.

The Brazilian-born Italian, who arrived in January from Roma, has mainly featured from the bench for the Blues after recovering well from a serious knee injury sustained during his time in the Italian capital.

Marcos Alonso primarily has been playing down Chelsea’s left, but the Spaniard has until 6pm tonight to respond to a charge from the FA following the Southampton game at the weekend.

With games coming thick and fast for the Blues, with tomorrow’s trip to Burnley immediately followed by an FA Cup Wembley semi-final with Southampton on Sunday, Conte has confirmed that Emerson is one of the players who will come into the side.

‘Tomorrow Emerson will play,’ said the boss. ‘I think he is ready in both the physical and the tactical aspect.

‘I don’t know if he’s ready to play games every two or three days just yet but tomorrow against Burnley is our focus and for sure, he is ready to play this game.

‘The FA have charged him [Marcos Alonso] and we have until tonight to respond to this situation. I don’t want to comment now on this topic, I prefer to wait and see what happens. We have to wait because we still have until tonight to respond.

‘For sure we have two important games now, against Burnley and then a semi-final against Southampton. To play just a few days after each game is not simple, and it’s not easy to recover our players, but we have to do our best in these two competitions. First in the league and then in the FA Cup on Sunday.

‘We have to try until the end to reach this target [finishing in the top four]. If we want to be realistic, then with five games to go it’s not simple to reduce the gap. But we must have the will to fight until the end and the desire to reach this target.

‘Tomorrow we play a really strong team in Burnley, a team having a fantastic season and it won’t be easy to get the three points. But we have to try to win this game. We can’t allow for a start like what happened against Southampton, we have to try to avoid this if we want to keep the hope of finishing in the top four.’

Conte was asked in his press conference about the job that Sean Dyche has done at Burnley, with our opponents performing above expectations this season and sitting pretty in seventh place heading into the tie.

With European football a real possibility at Turf Moor for next season, our head coach was quick to praise the work undertaken by Dyche and his players, and accepts that we will be in for a tough game in Lancashire tomorrow evening.

‘I think it could be a great achievement for Burnley, they are having a fantastic season. To finish in the right position to play in the Europa League next season would be a great achievement for them. They are playing very well and have won their last five games, so we know that it will be a difficult game. We have to pay great attention tomorrow to try and avoid a start like the Southampton game.

‘Tomorrow we have a really tough game against Burnley. I hope to make the best decision for tomorrow’s game with my team selection and then, after this match, I will start to think about the Southampton game. We must be focused on the present and it’s important that we don’t look too far ahead.’

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