Antonio Conte confirms Thibaut Courtois injury and Marcos Alonso's illness after Chelsea's defeat to Manchester United

Naveen Ullal
Borussia Dortmund's coach Thomas Tuchel

Antonio Conte has revealed goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois picked up an injury, while illness forced wing-back Marcos Alonso to be withdrawn later from the squad in Chelsea's 2-0 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford on 16 April.

The Belgium international did not travel with the squad to Manchester and the Blues manager started Asmir Begovic in goal. Third-choice goalkeeper Eduardo Carvalho was promoted to the bench in Courtois' absence.

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Alonso was initially included in the starting lineup to face the Red Devils. However, he was withdrawn and replaced by Kurt Zouma. The latter's inclusion saw him slot into the three-man defence, forcing Cesar Azpilicueta to play as a wing-back.

"After a defeat it's not right to go into this situation. Courtois had an injury during the week, and for this reason he wasn't available today. It's right to focus on the game and not to find an excuse," Conte told Chelsea's official website after the match.

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"Alonso had a virus during the night and we tried with the doctor to recover him for the game but it wasn't possible. For this reason, he didn't play."

The Red Devils are fifth in the table with 60 points after 31 games. They trail fourth place Manchester City by four points and have a game in hand. These two teams will face each other in their next Premier League clash on 27 April.

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Chelsea are still leading the table with 75 points after six games after their defeat to United. However, the gap between the Blues and second place Tottenham Hotspur is reduced to four points.

Conte's side will face the north London club in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on 22 April. The former Juventus and Italy manager has urged his players to bounce back when they take on Tottenham in the cup tie on Saturday.

"We all know you either go to the final or you don't, and so we must put 200 per cent to reach the final," he stressed.

"It won't be easy because Tottenham now are the best team. They are in great form and they have a lot of enthusiasm because they are feeling the possibility of writing history.

"This is a game between two teams that are in contention to win the league this season. It'll be an interesting game. We have five days to prepare for this game and then play to win.

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