By Jamie Vardy:
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte believes his players must be ready to work hard to stop Leicester City’s trio of Nigeria forward Kelechi Iheanacho, who has scored important goals in the competition, Jamie Vardy and Shinji Okazaki in Sunday’s Emirates FA Cup quarter-finals.
After their disappointing exit in the UEFA Champions League to Barcelona, Chelsea’s attention now shifts to the FA Cup where they will face Leicester in the last eight.
The Blues’ only hope of silverware this season now lies in the FA Cup after almost certainly surrendring the Premier League title, crashing out of the Champions League and also the Carabao Cup.
“We have special plans to try and defend well,” said Conte during his pre-match press conference on Friday.
“We all know Vardy’s characteristics. He is a clever player and is very good at finding the right time to attack the space and we must pay great attention to him and Iheanacho and Okazaki.”
Conte reflected on their last encounter against Leicester in the Premier League which the Blues won 2-1.
“Two years ago they won title. They want to fight a lot, in the last game we played them we suffered a lot,” the Italian added.
“They put us under a lot of pressure and ran a lot. They have very dangerous players and we must play great attention for that reason.”
Conte praised both his goalkeepers Thibaut Courtois, who came under fire for his performance against Barcelona in the Champions League in midweek, and Willy Caballero.
“Thibaut Courtois and Willy Caballero are both great goalkeepers. We don’t have rules for competition. On Sunday I will try to make the best decision because we want to go to the next round,” Conte stated.
The former Juventus boss expressed his sadness that Chelsea were knocked out of the Champions League but said they have to put the disappointment behind them.
He said: “It was pity to go out of the Champions League, but this is the life and now we must have great confidence and trust in our strength to move on.”
And on Gary Cahill being dropped from England’s squad for their upcoming friendlies, Conte said: “My aim is to have my players in the best form for Chelsea, and then it is up to national team managers whether they select our players for their squads.”
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