Antonio Conte: Entire Chelsea team deserves a Player of the Year trophy

simon johnson

Antonio Conte believes every member of his Chelsea team deserves a Player of the Year trophy.

Chelsea are strong favourites to win the Premier League this term having led the table since they beat Middlesbrough in November.

N'Golo Kante was named London Player of the Year at the London Football Awards last week, while Diego Costa, Eden Hazard and David Luiz have all been praised by the critics.

But Conte doesn't believe anyone should be singled out for individual honours if Chelsea finish top come May.

He said: “This kind of award is better to give at the end of the season and I hope to give this award to one of my players, all of my players.

"This season, until now, all my players are playing very well and deserve the best. But it's important in this case to finish the right way and try to win. Only if you win will people remember you.”

Chelsea take on West Ham tomorrow night, but Conte wishes he also had a Champions League fixture to look forward too this week.

The second leg in some of the last 16 games are being played on Tuesday and Wednesday night, including Arsenal's home match against Bayern Munich.

Chelsea failed to qualify for the competition this term because they finished a lowly 10th last year.

Conte was hired to improve their fortunes and told Standard Sport back in August of his desperation to get them back into the competition.

The Chelsea manager revealed that it was made a top priority by owner Roman Abramovich too.

When asked about Abramovich's demands, he added: "We started our season trying to fight until the end to win the title, and to try and fight until the end to be in the right position to go into next season's Champions League. This was our target. Our target.

"But, for sure, it wasn't easy to start the season and know that six strong teams fight for the title and the Champions League.

"Don't forget, in this six teams, two won't play in the Champions League next season. They have to go into the Europa League, which is a bit different to the Champions League.

"But now this League is very, very difficult. To win the title and also find a place to play the Champions League is not easy.

"But it's a great competition for every single player, club and manager, and we want to stay there and try to fight to win it."

Conte's desperation to manage on European football's biggest stage only increased after seeing Manchester City's thrilling 5-3 win over Monaco last month.

"I watched the Manchester City game against Monaco live because I wanted to breathe it in, the right atmosphere, and feel this type of game," he said. "In the future, also, I hope to sit and watch games live.

"I saw a great game, a great game. To see eight goals is not simple and it's not normal to find this."

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