Tag: Premier League

Conte: Chelsea will need more players for Champions League

Chelsea coach Antonio Conte believes that Chelsea will need a bigger squad to compete realistically in the Champions League next season.

At present, the Blues just need six more points to be confirmed as Premier League winners after Tottenham’s shock 1-0 loss against London rivals West Ham United. However, Conte asserted that Tottenham have not been disadvantaged by European commitments this season.

“Tottenham dropped at the first group stage [of the Champions League] and then dropped in the first [round] in the Europa League,” Conte said. “If you consider our games and theirs, there is a difference of what, eight games?

“I must be honest about this topic — I think that Tottenham have an advantage if you compare them to Chelsea. Mauricio Pochettino is a really good manager and is working with his team for a third year.

“Tottenham, last season, fought to win the title and Chelsea arrived 10th. You can see our transfer market, and Tottenham’s transfer market. Then I think Tottenham, in their project, have an advantage if you compare them to us.

“If you consider the squads, the numbers in each squad, you can see the difference: one team prepared to play the Champions League with 25 or 26 players, and another prepared to play the league, the FA Cup and the League Cup.”

When asked if that means Chelsea need more players to compete in both England and Europe next season, Conte replied: “Yes, for sure.”

Craig Shakespeare: conscience clear over Ranieri dismissal

Craig Shakespeare insisted he was “quite comfortable with my own conscience,” after Claudio Ranieri claimed that an unnamed member of his backroom staff may have contributed to the Italian’s sacking in February.

Shakespeare and the Leicester City players arrived in Spain to play the first leg of Leicester City’s Champions League quarter-final against Atletico Madrid at Estadio Vicente Calderon.

Since Ranieri’s prompt departure from Leicester the interim coach has successfully led the Foxes out of the relegation zone, winning five consecutive League games before a defeat to Everton last Sunday. However, Ranieri’s recent claims renewed scrutiny on the Englishman.  

“I think Claudio was in good humour, and came across as I know him, but from my first interview (since replacing him) I have said I spoke to him when he left and he thanked me for my time,” Shakespeare said in the pre-match conference against Atletico.

“I thanked him and there has never been any falling out. This is football and I am glad to see he is enjoying his football again.”

When asked if Shakespeare would have preferred Ranieri to give a name, he replied: “Free speech is there for anybody. I don’t have a problem with it. I am quite comfortable with my own conscience, so I can’t do anything about it.”

Leicester City will have to play Atletico without captain Wes Morgan who is out with a back problem, and four players (Jamie Vardy, Robert Huth, Islam Slimani and Wilfried Ndidi) could miss the second leg if they receive yellow cards.

They are the clear underdogs against an Atletico side who have reached the Champions League final in two of the past three seasons, but the Foxes would look to cause yet another upset in their remarkable Champions League debut.

Dortmund beats Premier League clubs to sign Mahmoud Dahoud

Borussia Dortmund have confirmed that Syria-born player Mahmoud Dahoud will join the club in the summer from Borussia Monchengladbach.

This comes into Thomas Tuchel’s side continued efforts to recruit some of Europe’s most promising young players, after beating Real Madrid to the Swedish teenager Alexander Isak and recruiting Ousmane Dembele from the French club Rennes and the Turkey winger Emre Mor from FC Nordsjaelland within the past 12 months.

Premier League clubs such as Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City had previously shown interest in signing the midfielder, who impressed for Dortmund’s Bundesliga rivals Borussia Monchengladbach this season despite their struggles in the German top flight.

The 20-year-old had refused to sign a new contract with his current club, and his representatives also made it clear that he was interesting in leaving at the end of the season with only one year remaining on his deal.

Dortmund were always confident that he would choose them having held negotiations since the turn of the year. Their sporting director, Michael Zorc, confirmed yesterday that Dahoud will move to the Westfalenstadion on a five-year deal.

“Mo Dahoud is a highly talented and exciting player for the central midfield, who we have been watching intensively for several years,” he said. “He has already demonstrated that he can play at the top level.”

The fee for Dahoud, who was born in Syria, is understood to be in the region of €12m, with Gladbach also confirming the news on their website.

“It was a very tough decision for Mo. It’s a shame that we’re losing a talent like him, but we have always managed to compensate for departures in the past,” said Gladbach sporting director, Max Eberl.

“It was important for the player and the club that a decision was reached. Now it’s off our minds and we can move on.”

Mahmoud Dahoud was only 10 months old when his family fled the largely Kurdish town of Amuda on Syria’s northern border with Turkey, but he had been given consideration as a potential member of Joachim Low’s Euro 2016 squad and has represented Germany at various youth levels.