Conte sets Chelsea targets after Champions League exit


London (AFP) – Antonio Conte has set his sights on winning the FA Cup and qualifying for the Champions League as Chelsea bid to bounce back from their disappointment in Barcelona.

Conte’s side were knocked out of the Champions League on Wednesday as Lionel Messi-inspired Barcelona won 3-0 in their last 16 second leg clash at the Camp Nou.

That leaves the FA Cup as Chelsea’s last chance to win a trophy this season and the Blues resume that mission on Sunday when they travel to Leicester in the quarter-finals.

Chelsea are also fifth in the Premier League, four points behind fourth-placed Tottenham with eight games remaining.

Tottenham are their next league opponents on April 1 in a match crucial to Chelsea’s hopes of a top-four finish and qualifying for Europe’s elite club competition next term.

“We have to try to do both. To try to reach the semi-final in the FA Cup it won’t be easy. Leicester is a good team. In the last game we played at home we suffered against them,” Conte told reporters on Friday.

“Then to try to do our best also in the league, to find a place in the Champions League. It won’t be easy.”

Conte has rotated his options in previous FA Cup rounds, but will field his first-choice line-up against the Foxes.

“Now we are not playing every three days. We played Barcelona, but we’ve had whole weeks to recover and rest. For this reason I’ll pick the best solution for Sunday’s game,” he said.

Like Conte’s team, Manchester United and Tottenham crashed out of the Champions League in the last 16, meaning the FA Cup represents their final chance of silverware this season as well.

“To win a trophy in England is always very tough,” Conte added.

“Before playing the final you have to face strong teams. It’s normal.

“This competition there is United, Tottenham, but also other teams.

“They want to go to the next round to try to write the history of this competition.”

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