By James Agberebi:
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has revealed that Super Eagles Mikel Obi and Blues skipper John Terry are both out of Saturday’s Premier League London derby against Tottenham Hotspur with injuries, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.
Conte disclosed this in his pre-match press conference on Friday ahead of the clash.
Mikel is yet to feature for Chelsea under Conte since the Nigerian returned from this year’s Rio Olympic Games where he won bronze, while Terry whose season has been hampered with injuries has appeared in only a handful of games.
“John Terry and John Mikel Obi will both miss tomorrow’s game against Spurs with muscular injuries,” Conte said.
Conte admits it will be a tough encounter for his team against Spurs.
“Chelsea’s last meeting with Spurs was very strange (last season’s 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge). In the first half Tottenham played very well, in the second half… another game,” the former Juventus boss recalls.
“It’s important to think of the present. Tomorrow will be very tough against a strong opponent. Tottenham has a great manager, talented players, very young, and I think they are improving. We have to pay great attention.”
Conte expressed confidence that his players are ready for Saturday’s clash while stressing the importance to play well to win.
He added:”I am pushing my players to be focused, but I think they are ready. Tomorrow it’ s important to play good football to win the game. You have to put your passion in the right way.
“Tottenham can create great difficulty for any team in this league, and can fight until the end to win the title.
“The last game was about result for Tottenham but tomorrow is another one and this is a special derby. It will be a great game.”
Conte expressed delight in his team’s adaptability to the new system which has seen them go on a six-game winning run.
“After the change in system we found more balance. It’s important we continue to work. I see the players are very happy.”
And on Chelsea”s absence from this season’s UEFA Champions League: “It’s good we have time to prepare for games but I would prefer to be in the Champions League.”