New Straits Times - - Sport -

un­der Conte and said: “He’s do­ing a great job but didn’t fin­ish yet and tells us we have to keep fo­cus.”

And Gary Cahill echoed the view of his de­fen­sive part­ner.

“The way we work now is in­tense. We do a lot of phys­i­cal train­ing, a lot of tac­ti­cal train­ing,” said the Eng­land in­ter­na­tional.

The win against United was built on an­other out­stand­ing in­di­vid­ual dis­play by N’Golo Kante, who ap­pears to be in a head to head bat­tle with team­mate Eden Haz­ard for the player of the year awards.

The France mid­fielder had al­ready drawn praise for his in­dus­try, but his sec­ond goal of the sea­son show­cased Kante’s all­round game and Cesc Fabre­gas be­lieves his team-mate re­mains un­der­rated. the club’s third per­ma­nent man­ager since Fer­gu­son stood down, told the BBC.

“Be­cause of the na­ture of the club, and of my­self, we are ready to fight for ev­ery game, ev­ery point.

“But there is a space be­tween the gen­eral am­bi­tion of such a gi­ant club and what we are in re­al­ity.”

Mour­inho, who won three league ti­tles in two spells with Chelsea, also ques­tioned the club’s trans­fer busi­ness un­der his pre­de­ces­sor Louis van Gaal, who sold strik­ers Danny Wel­beck and Javier Her­nan­dez as well as winger An­gel Di Maria.

“I would never have sold Di “Now N’Golo is be­com­ing fa­mous for chas­ing around and mak­ing tack­les that re­cover the ball and end up in goals, but he does other things very well,” Fabre­gas said.

“But be­cause this is now his rep­u­ta­tion, peo­ple just look into this and they don’t look to see if he does some­thing else.”

Vic­tor Moses is Conte’s only ma­jor in­jury worry, with the wing­back un­likely to make the trip be­cause of a calf prob­lem.

A point for Stoke at Manch­ester City last week­end moved them within four points of eighth-placed West Bromwich Al­bion.

Over­haul­ing their mid­lands ri­vals re­mains the pri­mary tar­get for Stoke, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing the bad blood be­tween the clubs and man­agers over the trans­fer of Saido Ber­ahino.

Stoke play­ers and man­ager Mark Hughes ac­cused West Brom of leak­ing news of Ber­ahino’s failed test for a recre­ational Maria, Chichar­ito (Her­nan­dez), Danny Wel­beck — never, no chance,” Mour­inho added.

“I found a sad club. Manch­ester United sold play­ers that I would never sell, bought play­ers that I would never buy.”

Mour­inho signed Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic, Paul Pogba, Hen­rikh Mkhi­taryan and Eric Bailly at the start of the sea­son and al­lowed mid­field­ers Mem­phis De­pay and Mor­gan Sch­nei­der­lin to leave the club in Jan­uary.

United beat Rus­sian side Ros­tov 1-0 on Thurs­day to reach the lasteight of the Europa League and are sixth in the Pre­mier League with 12 games to play. Reuters drug be­fore his move from The Hawthorns to the Pot­ter­ies.

Now, ahead of Hughes’ re­union with one of his for­mer clubs, de­fender Bruno Martins Indi says his side are still tar­get­ing eighth.

“At Man City it was a good per­for­mance,” said the Dutch­man, who con­firmed this week he is in ad­vanced talks about turn­ing his sea­son-long loan from Porto into a per­ma­nent move.

“Maybe we some­times had the sit­u­a­tion where we were lucky and they didn’t score the chances, but we were al­ways dan­ger­ous on the counter-at­tack as well.

“The sea­son is not done yet and a lot de­pends on how it is end­ing, but I have had a good sea­son so far.

“We’ve had a lot of im­prove­ments after dif­fi­cul­ties with in­juries and with mis­takes, but I hope we could fin­ish eighth.” AFP

Manch­ester United’s Paul Pogba (right) vies with Chelsea’s Wil­lian (cen­tre) and Vic­tor Moses in their FA Cup quar­ter-fi­nal match on Mon­day.

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