LONDON — Antonio Conte insisted his previous conflicts with Jose Mourinho is not going to overshadow subsequent month’s FA Cup remaining between Chelsea and Manchester United after the Blues beat Southampton 2-Zero at Wembley.
Second-half objectives from Olivier Giroud and substitute Alvaro Morata noticed off a spirited Saints aspect to arrange a 3rd conflict of the season between Chelsea and United, who edged Tottenham 2-1 within the first semifinal on Saturday.
The ultimate may also reunite Conte with the supervisor he known as a “little man” and a “fake” again in January, in response to Mourinho’s resolution to reference the match-fixing investigation he confronted — earlier than ultimately being cleared of all wrongdoing — throughout his time teaching in Italy.
However talking in a information convention after Chelsea’s victory, Conte was adamant that subsequent month’s remaining is not going to be in regards to the two males on the touchline.
“With Jose, we have clarified the situation,” Conte mentioned. “That is crucial factor. There’s not an issue between him and I. I feel this remaining is a recreation between two nice groups: Manchester United and Chelsea.
“We’re speaking about two managers with robust characters, and two winners. When in your thoughts and your coronary heart and your blood there’s the desire to win, for positive, we wish to attempt to win this trophy. The identical approach Manchester United wish to do that.
“I have great respect for United’s story, for Mourinho’s story. They have the same respect, I think, for Chelsea’s story and my story.”
Conte did, nonetheless, recommend that United and Mourinho might be below extra stress to carry the FA Cup at Wembley subsequent month.
“For sure, in my mind, I can tell you that we played last season in the final and arrived as favourites against Arsenal,” he added. “This season, we are arriving not as favourites. But, as you know very well, we lost the final despite being favourites in my mind.”
Eden Hazard was voted man of the match for Chelsea however it was Giroud who made the decisive breakthrough within the 46th minute, latching onto the Belgian’s by way of ball and slaloming round three Southampton defenders in addition to goalkeeper Alex McCarthy earlier than slotting in.
It was the 22nd aim that Giroud has both scored or assisted in 26 FA Cup appearances, and Conte praised the Frenchman’s contribution since arriving at Stamford Bridge from Arsenal in a deal price round £12 million in January.
“For sure, he has been a good signing for us,” Conte added. “As you already know very properly, I wanted a participant with this attribute: robust bodily, to carry the ball up and permit our No. 10 to make combos with him.
“Morata is a vital striker. I feel he is youthful than Olivier. He has much less expertise. He’s much less robust bodily however, on the similar time, could be very quick to behave on the area. I am happy for each as a result of within the final recreation towards Burnley we began the sport with each gamers they usually confirmed an amazing hyperlink.
“I am very happy to see that, as a result of I’ve an alternative choice now, one other card in my hand through the recreation. In the present day I made a decision to start out with Olivier as a result of I knew we needed to play towards the three central defenders, very robust bodily.
“But when Morata came on, the impact was impressive. In the same way as Pedro’s impact, which was important. And also [Tiemoue] Bakayoko.”
Liam is ESPN FC’s Chelsea correspondent. Observe him on Twitter: @Liam_Twomey.