Conte de­nies player swap

The National - News - Sport - - PREMIERLEAGUE -

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.

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