Chelsea V Swansea at Stamford Bridge : Match Preview

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24 February 2017
Chelsea V Swansea - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


The curse of a title-winning manager a risk Antonio Conte is willing to take

Antonio Conte is ready to "risk" his job if Chelsea win the Premier League title.

Claudio Ranieri was sacked by Leicester on Thursday night after winning the 2015-16 title, while Jose Mourinho left Chelsea in December 2015, seven months after winning the Premier League.

Conte's Chelsea are eight points clear entering this weekend's fixtures and play at home to Swansea on Saturday.

Conte, Mourinho's permanent successor who started his job last July, said: "First of all I think that it's important to finish this season in the best way and if we are able to reach this dream - for me, for the players - I'm ready to face this risk.

"There are 13 games until the end of the season and we want to stay at the top of the table. It won't be easy, but I'm ready to take this risk (if it) means we won the league."

Conte laughed off the prospect of being sacked, as he did earlier in this season before Chelsea won 13 successive Premier League games to take pole position in the title race.

"If you remember very well I was already sacked this season with the bookmakers," Conte added.

"I was lucky to keep the right concentration and to continue the work."

Conte's focus is on a Swansea side revitalised by Paul Clement, whose men won at Liverpool last month and pushed Manchester City close.

Conte added: "Paul Clement is doing a great job with Swansea. We must pay great attention."

Swansea's Spain striker Fernando Llorente played under Conte at Juventus and was linked with a winter transfer window move to Chelsea. Llorente scored twice in the win at Anfield.

Conte wore a sheepish smile when discussing whether there had been a bid.

"This is the past. I think it's not right to talk about the past," he added.

"I know him very well, because Fernando played with me at Juventus and we won together.

"He's a really good player, good footballer. I have great admiration for him.

"It's a pleasure for me to see him tomorrow, but I wish for him the best, but after this game."

Clement admits it will be special when he returns to Stamford Bridge but insists it does not provide him with any extra motivation.

Clement's coaching career started with Chelsea's academy 22 years ago and he worked his way up through the ranks across two stints before becoming assistant manager during Carlo Ancelotti's tenure.

His time in south-west London coincided with a golden period in Chelsea's history as silverware was secured on a regular basis, including a league and cup double under Ancelotti and Clement in 2010.

Saturday's game will be the first time he has returned there to coach against his former employers, and on paper it appears a daunting task given Chelsea top the table and have lost just one of their last 19 top-flight fixtures.

It will be a moment the 45-year-old will briefly allow himself to savour before the serious business begins.

"It is special, I am looking forward to going back," said the Swansea head coach.

"I had two spells there, from 1995 to 2000 when I was part time and then from 2007 to 2011 when I was full time.

"The last two years were memorable working with Carlo (Ancelotti), and I won the double under Guus (Hiddink) which is very rare. I am in touch with some people at the club and it will be nice to see them.

"Before my time there and after, they have recruited good managers and coaches with experience who are winners, and have continued to invest in the team.

"This team is different to when I was there. John Terry and David Luiz and Nemanja Matic are the ones I know. But they always evolve and invest and, when you get good managers and good players, it is a good mix."

Clement insists a game at his old stomping ground is not about him proving anything to anyone in Chelsea colours.

"Whoever we play, I want to win, it does not matter if it is Chelsea or Burnley next week," he said.

"I worked there for so many years, and to go and coach against them is an honour. I am excited, as are the players and (assistant coach) Claude (Makelele).

"They are in strong position but they will not think the title race is over just yet, and the teams behind them will not be thinking that, but they deserve to be where they are.

"In the two weeks since the Leicester game we have been fully focused on this. We did some analysis of Leicester on video and at the training ground, but otherwise all the focus has been on Chelsea."


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