Chelsea V Sunderland at Stamford Bridge : Match Preview

By
20 May 2017

John Terry role in Stamford Bridge curtain call not yet clear

Chelsea captain John Terry must wait to learn if he will start or be a substitute in his final Stamford Bridge appearance.

The 36-year-old defender, who will leave Chelsea this summer after 22 years, made his first Premier League start since September and 716th Blues appearance in last Monday's win over Watford.

But head coach Antonio Conte, who has no injury concerns, may revert to his first-choice line-up to prepare for the FA Cup final with Arsenal on May 27.

Meanwhile, Conte has expressed gratitude that his Chelsea players embraced his methods in their Premier League title success.

The Italian was concerned in September when Chelsea, despite winning their first three games, suffered back-to-back losses to Liverpool and Arsenal.

With the Blues 3-0 down at half-time, Conte reverted to a 3-4-3 system during the second half at the Emirates Stadium and the Blues did not look back.

A 13-match winning run followed and, despite some minor setbacks, Chelsea reclaimed the title relinquished to Leicester last season.

The Blues finished 10th last term, but Conte has galvanised the squad, alongside making a couple of key additions. And he praised his players for their application.

"To change our system was very important. We found the right suit for these players," Conte said. "Then we continued to work very hard. But 'very hard' is easy to say.

"Everyone can say they work hard. But the reality is very different. We did this. We worked very hard every single day.

"I found my players with a great will and desire to improve, to try to change the situation, to try to have another season better than last season.

"This was the secret, this link. I want to say thanks to my players because every single manager can have a good idea of football.

"But then there are the players. If the players don't go into the idea with the right will or desire, it's very difficult for any coach to have a good season."

Sunderland boss David Moyes is facing yet another injury crisis ahead of the Black Cats' final game in the Premier League.

Defender Lamine Kone and midfielder Didier Ndong (both dead leg) are doubtful following Tuesday night's 2-0 defeat at Arsenal and join defender Papy Djilobodji (thigh), midfielders Jason Denayer (also thigh) and Wahbi Khazri (knee) and striker Victor Anichebe (hamstring) on the sidelines.

George Honeyman is still struggling with a back problem, as are fellow midfielders Jan Kirchhoff (knee) and Steven Pienaar (ankle), while Paddy McNair and Duncan Watmore (knee ligaments) are long-term absentees.

Moyes, who will reach 499 Premier League games as a manager when he sends his relegated side into battle with Chelsea, is hoping some of the champions' success will rub off on the youngsters he could be forced to include in the face of a late-season injury crisis.

The Scot said: "Maybe seeing what it's like to be winners, maybe seeing what it's like to be champions can influence some of the players.

"Mind you, we have got a lot of players who have got Premier League experience here, but maybe some of the younger players who will get a chance to have a look at it will see what it's like and hopefully those times we can have in the future.

"They (Chelsea) have had a great season and are worthy champions. I admire the manager, he has done very well there this year. After about 10 games, he made the change, he went from a back four to a back three and since then, they have been very good.

"In the main, Chelsea have been worthy champions - but I think in the early part of the season, there were a few questions being asked."




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