Yesterday, Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino attempted to take some of the pressure of of his young Spurs side ahead of their FA Cup semifinal by saying that opponents Chelsea were clearly the favorites to win.
Today, it was Blues boss Antonio Conte’s turn, and he’s having none of that, no sir!
Conte, responding to Pochettino’s comments, fired back, calling Spurs “a really great power” and dismissing the idea that Chelsea should be favored to win.
"Tottenham are a really great power in English football, they are working for three years.
"They are a great team, they are showing for the second year to fight for the title. Last year they missed this, they are doing it again and are full of great, strong players.
"They are building something important. There is a moment you have to finish to be considered underdogs, this is the moment."
Gentlemen, gentlemen! You’re both worse than the other side!
It’s all mind games and #banter, of course. Most observers expect Saturday’s FA Cup semifinal at Wembley to be an absolute humdinger between what are clearly the two best sides in the Premier League. Both managers are trying to deflect pressure off of their own clubs, and the net result is a push: these are two really good clubs playing on a neutral field for the chance to play for silverware.
So who’s really the better club? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
You have to appreciate the effort, though.
Meanwhile, Chelsea received a bit of a mixed bag in the injury front, with Conte announcing that central defender (and stand-in for Toby Alderweireld in the PFA Team of the Season) Gary Cahill will not be fit for the match after being hospitalized with flu-like symptoms. Presumably, Kurt Zouma will slot in beside David Luiz for the match, unless Conte throws in a surprise.
However, both Thibaut Courtois and Marcos Alonso have trained with the club all week and are both set to return to Chelsea’s side to face Spurs this weekend.