Antonio Conte calls on Chelsea to build on momentum from FA Cup semi-final win over Tottenham

Ben Burrows
Antonio Conte was pleased with his side's performance at Wembley: Getty

Antonio Conte called on his Chelsea side to capitalise on the momentum from their FA Cup semi-final win over Tottenham.

Goals from Willian, super-sub Eden Hazard and Nemanja Matic helped the Blues secure their place in the final in May.

Attentions now turn once again to the Premier League and a midweek round of fixtures which sees Conte’s league-leaders host Southampton 24 hours before nearest rivals Tottenham travel to Crystal Palace.

And after stumbling against Manchester United last weekend to let Mauricio Pochettino’s men back in it just four points behind Conte is keen to take this result at Wembley into what he calls a “crucial” week for his team.

“We have to try to exploit the momentum, for sure because after this win, this win was really important against a team that are fighting you for the title.

“We must exploit this, but also we have to know that on Tuesday we have to play a really tough game against a really strong team.

“[Southampton have] very good players and they want to come to Stamford Bridge and play a really good game.

“On Tuesday, I want our supporters to be players on the pitch. It’s very important because this is a really important moment for us, and we need our fans.

“Today they pushed us a lot. We need on Tuesday our fans to push to the end.”

Hazard and Costa came off the bench to change the game (Getty)

A pair of goals from Willian either side of Harry Kane’s equaliser looked to have the Blues in control before Dele Alli dragged Spurs level just after the break.

But Conte turned to Hazard, a shock omission from the original starting line-up, to come off the bench after an hour and the Belgian scored one and made one to seal his side’s passage through.

And afterwards his manager revealed that that was always part of his plan.

“Our plan was this,” he added. “I try also to tell our players to stay in the game because the more time that passed, the better for us. And then I decided for the last 30 minutes, Eden and Diego [Costa], and then Cesc [Fabregas], because don’t forget Cesc was very important also for us.”

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