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Pochettino hails Alli as Spurs break Chelsea curse

first_img0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) Ending their long wait for a win at their London rivals is just the latest sign of the progress made under Pochettino.And it was even more impressive as they came from behind as a huge error from Hugo Lloris gifted Alvaro Morata the opening goal when the Tottenham goalkeeper misjudged a cross in the 30th minute.Christan Eriksen’s sublime long-range strike drew Tottenham level in first-half stoppage time.Alli took centre stage to end a barren run with two smart finishes in the 62nd and 66th minutes.Tottenham could even afford the luxury of doing the damage without Harry Kane, who made his return from a three-week layoff with ankle ligament damage 16 minutes from time.It was a sweet moment for Alli, who has endured criticism for some erratic performances this season.“He’s a great talent and I have no doubts about him. Young players need room to breath,” Pochettino said.“There’s pressure on their shoulders. But he has nothing to show to me or Tottenham.“It’s more about the expectation being so high. I’m so happy for him.”After a long run of poor results in away fixtures against their top four rivals, Tottenham finally proved they can win when the stakes are highest.Pochettino, yet to win a trophy with Tottenham, said: “After 28 years it is important to win here. It’s a happy day for everyone – fans, players. We feel very proud.”Chelsea manager Antonio Conte admitted Eriksen’s equaliser was a hammer blow after his side had dominated for much of the first half.“The goal at the end of the first half it wasn’t good for us and our confidence. We deserved to go in 2-0 up but football is this and Eriksen scored a fantastic goal,” he said.“Second half we tried to score again but Tottenham have been more clinical than us. In this season we are not so clinical and then we lost the game.”– Conte rues Chelsea flop –Antonio Conte watched his Chelsea side beaten 3-1 at home by Spurs Sunday but won’t concede the top four is beyond the Blues © AFP / Daniel LEAL-OLIVASFailing to qualify for the Champions League could trigger Conte’s departure at the end of the season after he spent much of the campaign feuding with the club’s hierarchy over their failure to back his transfer plans.But Conte wouldn’t concede Chelsea are out of the race for the top four.“For sure we lost a great chance today to reduce the gap with Tottenham,” he said.“There are seven games to go and we have to do our best until the end. At the end of the season you finish in the position you deserve.” 0Shares0000Chelsea’s Eden Hazard vies with Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli on Sunday © AFP / Daniel LEAL-OLIVASLONDON, United Kingdom, Apr 1 – Mauricio Pochettino saluted Dele Alli as Tottenham ended their 28-year wait to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge with a 3-1 victory on Sunday. Defeat for Chelsea shattered their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League as Tottenham opened up an eight-point lead over their closest challengers for fourth place.last_img read more

Antonio Conte hopes Chelsea newcomers will spare him the champions’ curse

first_imgChelsea coach Antonio Conte will be hoping that the curse of the English champions does not strike him down this season.In the past two years, the managers of the Premier League title-holders – Jose Mourinho, also at Chelsea, and Leicester City’s Claudio Ranieri – have been fired after their previously all-conquering teams suddenly slumped down the table.Conte seems aware of the risk.”We know it will be difficult next season and we will try and avoid what happened to Mourinho’s side at the start of 2015,” he said during a pre-season tour of Asia.”Two years ago Chelsea finished 10th and that cannot happen again,” he said.The former Juventus and Italy coach led Chelsea to the 2016/17 title in his first season in charge in England. But the challenge will be greater this year with the London club back in the Champions League after a season out of Europe.Mindful of the demands of competing at home and abroad, Conte has sought to stiffen his team’s spine, bringing in a new centre forward, central midfielder and central defender.A lot of responsibility will fall on striker Alvaro Morata, signed for 58 million pounds from Real Madrid. He will fill the void left by Diego Costa who was told by Conte that he no longer had a place at Chelsea after a row at the start of 2017.While Costa’s lack of discipline on and off the pitch was frustrating for both Conte and Mourinho, he was central to Chelsea’s title victories in 2015 and 2017 and scored 52 goals in 89 league appearances in his three years in London.advertisementConte had targeted former Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku as the ideal replacement for Costa with his proven record as a powerful Premier League goalscorer during his years at Everton.But Lukaku was snatched away to Manchester United by Mourinho, forcing Chelsea to gamble on Morata who has shone for Madrid and for Juventus but who has yet to be tested in the hurly-burly of the English league.Conte will also be hoping that another of his big summer signings – French midfielder Tiemoue Bayakoko, bought for a reported 40 million pounds from Monaco – will find his feet quickly in England.Bayakoko is expected to take the place of Nemanja Matic whose strength helped Chelsea to give a free rein to their attack-minded midfielders such as Eden Hazard, Pedro and Willian. Matic has signed for Manchester United.The third of Chelsea’s big summer signings – defender Antonio Rudiger – will also be discovering the physical demands of English football for the first time as he arrives from Roma.In a sign that Conte is aware of the risk that his new recruits might not settle quickly in England, newspapers have said he is still hoping to sign three or four British-based players before the season kicks off on August 12.last_img read more