Antonio Conte says he would rather lose than have selfish players in his team

Samuel Lovett
The Independent
Antonio Conte during Saturday's FA Cup semi-final: Getty
Antonio Conte during Saturday's FA Cup semi-final: Getty

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has said he would rather see his side lose than have a selfish player among his ranks.

Ahead of Chelsea’s Premier League clash with Southampton on Tuesday night, the Italian was asked whether Eden Hazard could reach the same heights as Barcelona’s Lionel Messi if he played with a more selfish mindset.

Hazard has been a key figure in Chelsea's season so far and netted his 15th goal of the season against Tottenham in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.

Afterwards, Cesc Fabregas stated his belief that Hazard was second in ability only to Messi and can improve if he is more "selfish" and shows a greater "killer instinct".

But Conte argued selfishness was not a characteristic he looks for in his players.

“No, absolutely not,” the Chelsea manager said. “I don't think a player like Messi is a selfish player. The target for every great champion is to play for the team.

“The best players aren't without the team. For me, it is sad when I listen to this, that one player must be more selfish to reach the top level.

“It is sad because it is not my idea of football. I will never understand this. In my team, I don't want selfish players. I prefer to lose a game than have selfish players. I don't want that in my club. Never.”

The Blues could complete the double in Conte's first season in charge after advancing to the FA Cup final on May 27, where they will face Arsenal.

But they need to respond from two losses in their last four Premier League matches, to Crystal Palace and Manchester United, beginning at home to Southampton on Tuesday night.

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