Antonio Conte admits he is battling doubts and injuries ahead of Chelsea’s FA Cup semi-final showdown with Spurs today conceding: We are up against it.
The Blues boss said: “This is a situation very clear for us – we are in trouble. But we are ready.”
Gary Cahill is out of the Wembley clash with gastroenteritis. Rookie Nathan Ake is set to replace him ahead of John Terry, who could now be denied a Wembley farewell ahead of his summer exit.
Diego Costa is without a goal since early March. Thibaut Courtois is recovering from an ankle injury and Conte – who claimed not to know who his captain will be today – will have to pick a team with Tuesday’s tough League home game against Southampton in mind.
The Italian, whose title advantage is down to just four points, added: “It’s not a simple situation now for us, because you have to consider that you have to play a semi-final in a great competition.
“Then, after two and a half days you have to play against Southampton, and Southampton have rested for 10 days.”
Cahill was hospitalised for two nights with illness in midweek. Although he was able to train alone on Friday, Conte maintained he had no chance of facing Spurs.
“No. Honestly, its impossible.” he said.
Asked who would captain the team, Conte went on: “We have this problem. There is only one captain in Chelsea now and it is JT, if he plays or doesn’t play.
“But we have to find a new captain, and this is another problem that I have to solve.
“Ake thinks he deserves to have his chance to play. He has shown me in this period that he has always had great commitment. He worked very hard.
“His behaviour has been great, was fantastic, and he has never moaned. He’s ready to have this opportunity, to have this chance. I trust him. I have no problem taking this decision.
“We have a semi-final and then six games to go to try to write history. We must be focused. We must stay together and must fight together.”