Conte Has Carabao Cup Final In His Sights After Brushing Bournemouth Aside

21 December 2017

Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte targeted a Carabao Cup final spot after a "remarkable" run to the last four.

A Blues side showing eight changes beat Bournemouth 2-1 on Wednesday night to set up a two-legged semi-final with Arsenal, who beat Chelsea in last May's FA Cup final.

"This is a remarkable achievement for us," said head coach Conte, who was speaking before the draw.

"We want to continue, to try to reach Wembley to play the final."

Conte was comparing the progress to last season's fourth round defeat at West Ham and in light of the use of his more peripheral performers.

However, the Italian had to call on the cavalry to beat the Cherries.

Willian had given Chelsea a 13th-minute lead but the Blues invited pressure and Dan Gosling equalised in the 90th minute of the quarter-final tie at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea attacked from the restart and Eden Hazard back-heeled into the path of fellow substitute Alvaro Morata, who tucked in to send the Blues through.

"It was important, because to go and to play 30 minutes more, I think it was a bit dangerous," Conte said.

"We had a great reaction. It's not simple to concede a goal in the last minute of the game. When you have this type of reaction, it means you have players with great character, great personality, great heart."

Morata was booked following his goal and is now suspended for Saturday's trip to Everton, when Conte is likely to deploy Hazard as a 'false nine' once again after another underwhelming display by Michy Batshuayi.

It was against the Toffees in the fourth round of the League Cup that Ethan Ampadu made his first Chelsea start and the 17-year-old was entrusted to begin against Bournemouth.

The Wales international showed his class, following an early rush of blood which saw him booked in the second minute for a foul on visiting striker Jermain Defoe.

"Ampadu played the whole game with this problem," Conte added.

"He showed great maturity, great personality."

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe felt Ampadu's punishment was appropriate, but bemoaned the cost to his side.

Howe said: "My gut feeling was a yellow, but obviously we lost Jermain."

Defoe went off with possible ankle ligament damage and midfielder Harry Arter has a calf problem which makes him doubtful for Saturday's trip to Manchester City.

Howe added: "I can't credit the players enough. We leave positive, but we've got Man City next. It doesn't get any easier."

Source: PA-WIRE