Conte denies player swap
Antonio Conte has said he would not swap Diego Costa for Romelu Lukaku, despite continued speculation Everton’s Belgium striker could return to Chelsea this summer. Chelsea face Everton at Goodison Park tomorrow as they look to move a step closer to winning the Premier League title.
Everton striker Lukaku tops the Premier League scoring charts with 24 goals, while Costa has struck 19 times in league action. Chelsea manager Conte remained coy about comparisons between the two prolific forwards, but admitted his side must be wary of Lukaku. Asked if he would rather have Costa or Lukaku, Conte replied: “As I’ve said before, for me my players are the best in the world.
“I wouldn’t change my players with any other players. I think that Lukaku for sure is a really good player, he’s scoring a lot of goals this season.
“You have to pay him great attention but it’s always the same, we study the opponent and we try to find the best solution to stop them, about single players and about the team.”
Chelsea top the league table by four points with five matches to play, but Conte has rejected suggestions his side face an easier run-in than title rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
Asked if Chelsea have an easier run to the end of the season than Tottenham, Conte said: “I don’t think so.
“I think that in this part of the season each game is very tough for many different reasons. You have a lot of pressure, you know you have to win. “For sure when you have to play with this target, it’s not simple, it’s not easy. But not only for us, also for Tottenham.
“We have to do our job with the right pressure but at the same time to enjoy it. I think it’s not an advantage for us to play before Tottenham this weekend.
“But at the end of the season when you have two teams in contention for the title, I think you must have the two fixtures at the same hour, on the same day – not to give the advantage to one team or the other.”
Conte also called on Premier League organisers to even out the final leg of future title battles. He said they ought to alter fixtures at the last minute in future to ensure title rivals’ matches kick off simultaneously to prevent one side having an edge over the other on scheduling.