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Rediff.com  » Sports » Football Briefs: Conte eyes win over Liverpool to boost Chelsea's top-four hopes

Football Briefs: Conte eyes win over Liverpool to boost Chelsea's top-four hopes

May 05, 2018 10:26 IST

Conte wants to boost Chelsea's top-four hopes

Antonio Conte

IMAGE: Chelsea manager Antonio Conte reacts. Photograph: David Klein/Reuters

Victory against Liverpool on Sunday will be the ideal platform for Chelsea to mount a late charge to finish in the Premier League's top four, manager Antonio Conte said on Friday.

Chelsea are currently fifth in the table with 66 points from 35 games, with the top four teams qualifying for next season's Champions League. They trail third-placed Liverpool by six points and fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur by five points.

 

"This could be a good opportunity for us," Conte told a news conference. "But as I have said a lot of times, if we want to keep our hopes alive we have to win. Liverpool are a good team and it won't be easy."

Liverpool come into the game on the back of a thrilling 7-6 aggregate victory over AS Roma in the Champions League semi-final.

Conte pointed to the Merseyside club's 5-2 thrashing of the Serie A side in the first leg at Anfield to highlight Liverpool's devastating attacking threat.

Aguero will be fine for World Cup, says Guardiola

Injured Argentina striker Sergio Aguero is recovering well from knee surgery and will be ready for next month's World Cup in Russia, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said.

"He will get there fine," the Spaniard told reporters. "I can give you the latest news from doctor (Ramon) Cugat in Barcelona and it's going perfectly."

Aguero, 29, has scored 21 Premier League goals for runaway champions City this season but underwent an arthroscopy in mid-April.

Argentina play their opening World Cup match against Iceland on June 16.

Guardiola said Belgium international captain Vincent Kompany and England defender John Stones were fit and ready for Sunday's league game against Huddersfield Town after earlier injury problems.

"The main target for the players is the World Cup because the Premier League is done. But the best way to arrive at the World Cup is to play good in these three games," said the manager of the final Premier League matches.

Yaya Toure to leave Manchester City, says Guardiola

Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure is leaving Manchester City and will get a fitting send-off in the Premier League champions' final home game against Brighton next week, manager Pep Guardiola said.

An instrumental figure in recent years, the 34-year-old has played a bit-part role this season and is out of contract at the end of the campaign.

"Yaya is not going to stay next season," Guardiola told reporters ahead of City's home game against Huddersfield Town on Sunday.

"The Brighton game, we will give him what he deserves. One of the most beautiful farewells a player can receive. We will be focused on winning for Yaya and we are going to try to win it for him," added the Spaniard.

City play Brighton at the Etihad on Wednesday before their final match at Southampton.

Toure joined City from Barcelona, when Guardiola was in charge there, in 2010 and missed a part of last season following a public spat between his agent Dimitri Seluk and the Spaniard.

The player, who will be 35 this month, then issued a pubic apology and was welcomed back into the fold, with a one-year contract extension.

Leicester's Puel gets vote of confidence from club chairman

Leicester City manager Claude Puel has received the full backing of club chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha following a poor run of results in the Premier League.

Frenchman Puel, who replaced the sacked Craig Shakespeare in October, has guided Leicester to ninth in the standings with 44 points from 35 games. The team has struggled for form in recent weeks, however, losing three of their last four matches.

Leicester's Thai chairman visited Puel at the club's training ground on Friday to offer his support amid media reports of player unrest.

"The message from the owner is clear for all. It's important to finish strongly and to respect the club, the owners and the fans," Puel told a news conference ahead of Saturday's league clash at home against 15th-placed West Ham United.

"I'm not under pressure. I'm pragmatic. I know my work, I know what we need to do, what we want for the end of the season, for next season, but of course it's important to try and bring together this energy."

The former Southampton boss said he was not surprised by the vote of confidence.

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