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FA Cup: Why I changed My Team Against Spurs – Conte

Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte, has explained that he started with some of his fringe players in the FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur, because he trusts everyone in his squad.

Diego Costa and Eden Hazard were left out of the starting eleven, with Willian, Michy Batshuayi and Nathan Ake starting at Wembley.

Willian responded with two first half goals, while Hazard came off the bench to score one and lay on another, as Chelsea won a thrilling contest 4-2.

“I’m pleased that Michy Batshuayi started a really important game,” Conte said afterwards.

“It’s important for his confidence, the same for Ake who is a young player from our academy. We must be proud to see his commitment and to see the level that he played at in this type of game.

“It’s not easy, honestly, for Ake to go and play his part. I trust every single player and I think today I showed this.

“I’m pleased for Willian because he showed himself to be in good form. For him, this season wasn’t easy for many reasons (Willian’s mother died last October following a battle with cancer) that you know and I don’t want to repeat.

“I must be pleased because I think that in this game I involved all my players in our idea and in our football. This is very important in this part of the season that every single player feels they are part of this project.

“When you work very hard, went you work only with your players every day… don’t forget that for me every single player, I work with him in the same way whether he is in in the starting XI or stays on the bench

“They didn’t play a simple game, you played a semi-final against a team as strong as Tottenham, at Wembley with 80,00 people. I think it’s great for them but also I must be proud for this.”

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