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Boxing promoter Raufu Ladipo displays a lightweight belt to be contested by boxers during a GOtv title fight at the National Stadium in Lagos on April 15, 2018
Boxing promoter Raufu Ladipo displays a lightweight belt to be contested by boxers during a GOtv title fight at the National Stadium in Lagos on April 15, 2018
Boxing promoter Raufu Ladipo displays a lightweight belt to be contested by boxers during a GOtv title fight at the National Stadium in Lagos on April 15, 2018
Satellite television platform Multichoice Nigeria has organised an annual "boxing night" since 2004, which is watched by millions across Africa
Satellite television platform Multichoice Nigeria has organised an annual "boxing night" since 2004, which is watched by millions across Africa
Satellite television platform Multichoice Nigeria has organised an annual "boxing night" since 2004, which is watched by millions across Africa
Since the beginning of the 2000s boxing has made a come-back in Nigeria and been seen as a way for aspiring boxers from impoverished backgrounds to find fame and fortune
Since the beginning of the 2000s boxing has made a come-back in Nigeria and been seen as a way for aspiring boxers from impoverished backgrounds to find fame and fortune
Since the beginning of the 2000s boxing has made a come-back in Nigeria and been seen as a way for aspiring boxers from impoverished backgrounds to find fame and fortune
Boxing used to be the most popular sport in Nigeria until the 1960s but fell out of favour for decades, in part due to lack of sponsorship. But since the start of the 2000s it has made a come-back
Boxing used to be the most popular sport in Nigeria until the 1960s but fell out of favour for decades, in part due to lack of sponsorship. But since the start of the 2000s it has made a come-back
Boxing used to be the most popular sport in Nigeria until the 1960s but fell out of favour for decades, in part due to lack of sponsorship. But since the start of the 2000s it has made a come-back
Mandeep Jangra thumped Haerheng Wulepaer of China Dragons to register his first ever win in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) format and guided the Indian Tigers to the second consecutive victory with a 4-1 score at the National Boxing Academy here on Sunday
Indian Tigers Thrash China Dragons in WSB Tie
Mandeep Jangra thumped Haerheng Wulepaer of China Dragons to register his first ever win in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) format and guided the Indian Tigers to the second consecutive victory with a 4-1 score at the National Boxing Academy here on Sunday
Flawless and full of his old magic, Carl Frampton put on that rarest of things - an actual boxing masterclass
Flawless and full of his old magic, Carl Frampton put on that rarest of things - an actual boxing masterclass
Flawless and full of his old magic, Carl Frampton put on that rarest of things - an actual boxing masterclass
Flawless and full of his old magic, Carl Frampton put on that rarest of things - an actual boxing masterclass
Flawless and full of his old magic, Carl Frampton put on that rarest of things - an actual boxing masterclass
Flawless and full of his old magic, Carl Frampton put on that rarest of things - an actual boxing masterclass
Flawless and full of his old magic, Carl Frampton put on that rarest of things - an actual boxing masterclass
Flawless and full of his old magic, Carl Frampton put on that rarest of things - an actual boxing masterclass
Flawless and full of his old magic, Carl Frampton put on that rarest of things - an actual boxing masterclass
Flawless and full of his old magic, Carl Frampton put on that rarest of things - an actual boxing masterclass
Flawless and full of his old magic, Carl Frampton put on that rarest of things - an actual boxing masterclass
Flawless and full of his old magic, Carl Frampton put on that rarest of things - an actual boxing masterclass
Flawless and full of his old magic, Carl Frampton put on that rarest of things - an actual boxing masterclass
Flawless and full of his old magic, Carl Frampton put on that rarest of things - an actual boxing masterclass
Flawless and full of his old magic, Carl Frampton put on that rarest of things - an actual boxing masterclass
Adrien Broner, right, follows through on a right to Jessie Vargas during the third round of a welterweight boxing match Saturday, April 21, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Adrien Broner, Jessie Vargas fight to 12-round majority draw
Adrien Broner, right, follows through on a right to Jessie Vargas during the third round of a welterweight boxing match Saturday, April 21, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Jessie Vargas, left, punches Adrien Broner during the eighth round of a welterweight boxing match Saturday, April 21, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Adrien Broner, Jessie Vargas fight to 12-round majority draw
Jessie Vargas, left, punches Adrien Broner during the eighth round of a welterweight boxing match Saturday, April 21, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Adrien Broner, right, punches Jessie Vargas during the eighth round of a welterweight boxing match Saturday, April 21, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Adrien Broner, Jessie Vargas fight to 12-round majority draw
Adrien Broner, right, punches Jessie Vargas during the eighth round of a welterweight boxing match Saturday, April 21, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Adrien Broner, right, punches Jessie Vargas during the fourth round of a welterweight boxing match Saturday, April 21, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Adrien Broner, Jessie Vargas fight to 12-round majority draw
Adrien Broner, right, punches Jessie Vargas during the fourth round of a welterweight boxing match Saturday, April 21, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Jessie Vargas, left, hits Adrien Broner with a left during the fourth round of a welterweight boxing match Saturday, April 21, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Adrien Broner, Jessie Vargas fight to 12-round majority draw
Jessie Vargas, left, hits Adrien Broner with a left during the fourth round of a welterweight boxing match Saturday, April 21, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Jessie Vargas, right, punches Adrien Broner during the 10th round of a welterweight boxing match Saturday, April 21, 2018, in New York. The match ended in a draw. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Adrien Broner, Jessie Vargas fight to 12-round majority draw
Jessie Vargas, right, punches Adrien Broner during the 10th round of a welterweight boxing match Saturday, April 21, 2018, in New York. The match ended in a draw. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Indian Tigers defeated Patriot Boxing Team of Russia 3-2 in a Word Series of Boxing (WSB) tie here on Saturday evening
Indian Tigers Beat Russian Team in WSB Tie
Indian Tigers defeated Patriot Boxing Team of Russia 3-2 in a Word Series of Boxing (WSB) tie here on Saturday evening
Boxing - Conor Benn v Chris Truman - Echo Arena, Liverpool, Britain - April 21, 2018 Conor Benn after winning the fight Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Conor Benn v Chris Truman
Boxing - Conor Benn v Chris Truman - Echo Arena, Liverpool, Britain - April 21, 2018 Conor Benn after winning the fight Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Boxing - Conor Benn v Chris Truman - Echo Arena, Liverpool, Britain - April 21, 2018 Conor Benn celebrates with his father, Nigel Benn after winning the fight Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Conor Benn v Chris Truman
Boxing - Conor Benn v Chris Truman - Echo Arena, Liverpool, Britain - April 21, 2018 Conor Benn celebrates with his father, Nigel Benn after winning the fight Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Boxing - Sean Dodd v Tommy Coyle - Commonwealth Lightweight Title - Echo Arena, Liverpool, Britain - April 21, 2018 Sean Dodd is knocked down by Tommy Coyle Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Sean Dodd v Tommy Coyle - Commonwealth Lightweight Title
Boxing - Sean Dodd v Tommy Coyle - Commonwealth Lightweight Title - Echo Arena, Liverpool, Britain - April 21, 2018 Sean Dodd is knocked down by Tommy Coyle Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Boxing - Amir Khan v Phil Lo Greco - Echo Arena, Liverpool, Britain - April 21, 2018 Amir Khan celebrates after winning the fight Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Amir Khan v Phil Lo Greco
Boxing - Amir Khan v Phil Lo Greco - Echo Arena, Liverpool, Britain - April 21, 2018 Amir Khan celebrates after winning the fight Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Boxing - Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire - WBO Interim Featherweight World Title - SSE Arena, Belfast, Britain - April 21, 2018 Carl Frampton in action with Nonito Donaire Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire - WBO Interim Featherweight World Title
Boxing - Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire - WBO Interim Featherweight World Title - SSE Arena, Belfast, Britain - April 21, 2018 Carl Frampton in action with Nonito Donaire Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Boxing - Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire - WBO Interim Featherweight World Title - SSE Arena, Belfast, Britain - April 21, 2018 Carl Frampton makes his entrance before the fight Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire - WBO Interim Featherweight World Title
Boxing - Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire - WBO Interim Featherweight World Title - SSE Arena, Belfast, Britain - April 21, 2018 Carl Frampton makes his entrance before the fight Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Boxing - Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire - WBO Interim Featherweight World Title - SSE Arena, Belfast, Britain - April 21, 2018 Carl Frampton makes his entrance before the fight Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire - WBO Interim Featherweight World Title
Boxing - Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire - WBO Interim Featherweight World Title - SSE Arena, Belfast, Britain - April 21, 2018 Carl Frampton makes his entrance before the fight Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Boxing - Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire - WBO Interim Featherweight World Title - SSE Arena, Belfast, Britain - April 21, 2018 Carl Frampton in action with Nonito Donaire Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire - WBO Interim Featherweight World Title
Boxing - Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire - WBO Interim Featherweight World Title - SSE Arena, Belfast, Britain - April 21, 2018 Carl Frampton in action with Nonito Donaire Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Boxing - Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire - WBO Interim Featherweight World Title - SSE Arena, Belfast, Britain - April 21, 2018 Carl Frampton in action with Nonito Donaire Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire - WBO Interim Featherweight World Title
Boxing - Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire - WBO Interim Featherweight World Title - SSE Arena, Belfast, Britain - April 21, 2018 Carl Frampton in action with Nonito Donaire Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Boxing - Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire - WBO Interim Featherweight World Title - SSE Arena, Belfast, Britain - April 21, 2018 Carl Frampton in action with Nonito Donaire Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire - WBO Interim Featherweight World Title
Boxing - Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire - WBO Interim Featherweight World Title - SSE Arena, Belfast, Britain - April 21, 2018 Carl Frampton in action with Nonito Donaire Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Boxing - Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire - WBO Interim Featherweight World Title - SSE Arena, Belfast, Britain - April 21, 2018 Carl Frampton in action with Nonito Donaire Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire - WBO Interim Featherweight World Title
Boxing - Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire - WBO Interim Featherweight World Title - SSE Arena, Belfast, Britain - April 21, 2018 Carl Frampton in action with Nonito Donaire Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Boxing - Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire - WBO Interim Featherweight World Title - SSE Arena, Belfast, Britain - April 21, 2018 Carl Frampton celebrates with the belt and his team after winning the fight Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire - WBO Interim Featherweight World Title
Boxing - Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire - WBO Interim Featherweight World Title - SSE Arena, Belfast, Britain - April 21, 2018 Carl Frampton celebrates with the belt and his team after winning the fight Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Boxing - Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire - WBO Interim Featherweight World Title - SSE Arena, Belfast, Britain - April 21, 2018 Carl Frampton hugs Nonito Donaire after winning the fight as promoter Frank Warren looks on Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire - WBO Interim Featherweight World Title
Boxing - Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire - WBO Interim Featherweight World Title - SSE Arena, Belfast, Britain - April 21, 2018 Carl Frampton hugs Nonito Donaire after winning the fight as promoter Frank Warren looks on Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Boxing - Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire - WBO Interim Featherweight World Title - SSE Arena, Belfast, Britain - April 21, 2018 Carl Frampton in action with Nonito Donaire Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire - WBO Interim Featherweight World Title
Boxing - Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire - WBO Interim Featherweight World Title - SSE Arena, Belfast, Britain - April 21, 2018 Carl Frampton in action with Nonito Donaire Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Boxing - Zolani Tete v Omar Andres Narvaez - WBO World Bantamweight Title - SSE Arena, Belfast, Britain - April 21, 2018 Zolani Tete in action with Omar Andres Narvaez Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Zolani Tete v Omar Andres Narvaez - WBO World Bantamweight Title
Boxing - Zolani Tete v Omar Andres Narvaez - WBO World Bantamweight Title - SSE Arena, Belfast, Britain - April 21, 2018 Zolani Tete in action with Omar Andres Narvaez Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Boxing - Zolani Tete v Omar Andres Narvaez - WBO World Bantamweight Title - SSE Arena, Belfast, Britain - April 21, 2018 Zolani Tete in action with Omar Andres Narvaez Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Zolani Tete v Omar Andres Narvaez - WBO World Bantamweight Title
Boxing - Zolani Tete v Omar Andres Narvaez - WBO World Bantamweight Title - SSE Arena, Belfast, Britain - April 21, 2018 Zolani Tete in action with Omar Andres Narvaez Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Boxing - Zolani Tete v Omar Andres Narvaez - WBO World Bantamweight Title - SSE Arena, Belfast, Britain - April 21, 2018 Zolani Tete in action with Omar Andres Narvaez Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Zolani Tete v Omar Andres Narvaez - WBO World Bantamweight Title
Boxing - Zolani Tete v Omar Andres Narvaez - WBO World Bantamweight Title - SSE Arena, Belfast, Britain - April 21, 2018 Zolani Tete in action with Omar Andres Narvaez Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Boxing - Zolani Tete v Omar Andres Narvaez - WBO World Bantamweight Title - SSE Arena, Belfast, Britain - April 21, 2018 Zolani Tete in action with Omar Andres Narvaez Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Zolani Tete v Omar Andres Narvaez - WBO World Bantamweight Title
Boxing - Zolani Tete v Omar Andres Narvaez - WBO World Bantamweight Title - SSE Arena, Belfast, Britain - April 21, 2018 Zolani Tete in action with Omar Andres Narvaez Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Boxing - Zolani Tete v Omar Andres Narvaez - WBO World Bantamweight Title - SSE Arena, Belfast, Britain - April 21, 2018 Zolani Tete in action with Omar Andres Narvaez Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Zolani Tete v Omar Andres Narvaez - WBO World Bantamweight Title
Boxing - Zolani Tete v Omar Andres Narvaez - WBO World Bantamweight Title - SSE Arena, Belfast, Britain - April 21, 2018 Zolani Tete in action with Omar Andres Narvaez Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
In the tumultuous history of the modern Chelsea, where impending disaster stalks every title and each boom is followed by bust, it has become increasingly difficult to quantify the meaning of success. Would victory in the FA Cup be enough to assuage the damage of failing to qualify for next season’s Champions League? Would a triumphant day at a Wembley final wash away the various tensions that have pockmarked an awkward season? And would a domestic trophy restore to its gleaming best the reputation of Antonio Conte, a manager who has veered from brilliant to belligerent but still lays claim to being one of Europe’s finest? These are the questions that will hover over Chelsea’s players as they trot out to face Southampton in an FA Cup semi-final that provides them with a chance to salvage a campaign defined by bickering and underperformance. But for Conte, it perhaps goes further than that. For him, the FA Cup represents an opportunity to strengthen his legacy, enhance his standing and add a touch more glamour to the CV before his inevitable departure this summer. The Italian enjoys reminding people that he is a winner - “I don’t play to enjoy,” he said, on the eve of this trip to Wembley - yet his second season is dangerously close to being classified as a failure. It is arguably Conte who has the most to gain from lifting the FA Cup trophy next month, and the most to lose from allowing this season to fade into insignificance. “Every season I start with only one idea in my mind,” he said. “In my mind, in my heart, in my soul must be this winning mentality. If I win something, I did my job, not something special. If we don’t win, I am very angry, above all with myself. But at the same time I am ready to work harder to try and win something the next chance I have.” It is, one suspects, this dynamic that has made Conte so preoccupied with the mental state of his squad. As he has struggled to maintain his hold over players that have become gradually less responsive to his high-maintenance approach, Conte has become increasingly concerned with their “spirit”. He spoke after last week’s league victory over Southampton about the importance of having the right “fire in the eyes”, and said he failed to transfer the “right passion” to his players in the first half. Again, ahead of this second meeting with Mark Hughes’s side in eight days, he reiterated the importance of enthusing his players with his “winning mentality”. The message is clear: you must be as hungry as I am. If not, trouble awaits. Conte learned as much in the first hour of their visit to Southampton last week, when they trailed 2-0 before substitute Olivier Giroud inspired a late comeback. Olivier Giroud inspired Chelsea's comeback against Southampton Credit: AFP “If we are the team that played the first half and a part of the second half [at St Mary’s], we must be concerned,” Conte said. “Really concerned. If we go to play with the right team spirit, like against Burnley [on Thursday] or in the last minutes of the Southampton game, we have a possibility of reaching the final. But my players have to know this.” Conte has been here before, overseeing the defeat of Tottenham Hotspur in a thrilling semi-final last season before they went on to be beaten by an under-strength Arsenal in the final, which clearly still grates. “I must be honest,” he said. “Last season we missed a great chance to win the FA Cup. We were in the best condition to try and go and win the FA Cup, and we missed that chance. It was our fault. We could do better. In that moment, we were stronger than them.” Antonio Conte is rueful about losing last year's FA Cup final Credit: ACTION IMAGES Conte believes that this year’s final would be more challenging, given the calibre of the opposition. They must overcome Southampton first, though, and Conte has a decision to make over which attacking players he selects. He paired Giroud with Alvaro Morata in the victory over Burnley, and could do the same again at Wembley despite Morata’s disappointing return of two goals in 18 games since Boxing Day. Conte will be without the suspended Marcos Alonso again, while midfielder Danny Drinkwater is a doubt. The Italian should still have more than enough firepower, though, to see off the challenge of a Southampton side that remains four points away from Premier League safety with four games remaining. “I am very surprised to see them in this position in the table,” Conte said. “They have talented players. Don’t forget, only one week ago we were losing 2-0 after 60 minutes. The last game, it will be very important for our approach, for our future in this competition.” And, perhaps, for his future beyond this club.
Antonio Conte hoping to salvage season and strengthen Chelsea legacy with FA Cup victory over Southampton
In the tumultuous history of the modern Chelsea, where impending disaster stalks every title and each boom is followed by bust, it has become increasingly difficult to quantify the meaning of success. Would victory in the FA Cup be enough to assuage the damage of failing to qualify for next season’s Champions League? Would a triumphant day at a Wembley final wash away the various tensions that have pockmarked an awkward season? And would a domestic trophy restore to its gleaming best the reputation of Antonio Conte, a manager who has veered from brilliant to belligerent but still lays claim to being one of Europe’s finest? These are the questions that will hover over Chelsea’s players as they trot out to face Southampton in an FA Cup semi-final that provides them with a chance to salvage a campaign defined by bickering and underperformance. But for Conte, it perhaps goes further than that. For him, the FA Cup represents an opportunity to strengthen his legacy, enhance his standing and add a touch more glamour to the CV before his inevitable departure this summer. The Italian enjoys reminding people that he is a winner - “I don’t play to enjoy,” he said, on the eve of this trip to Wembley - yet his second season is dangerously close to being classified as a failure. It is arguably Conte who has the most to gain from lifting the FA Cup trophy next month, and the most to lose from allowing this season to fade into insignificance. “Every season I start with only one idea in my mind,” he said. “In my mind, in my heart, in my soul must be this winning mentality. If I win something, I did my job, not something special. If we don’t win, I am very angry, above all with myself. But at the same time I am ready to work harder to try and win something the next chance I have.” It is, one suspects, this dynamic that has made Conte so preoccupied with the mental state of his squad. As he has struggled to maintain his hold over players that have become gradually less responsive to his high-maintenance approach, Conte has become increasingly concerned with their “spirit”. He spoke after last week’s league victory over Southampton about the importance of having the right “fire in the eyes”, and said he failed to transfer the “right passion” to his players in the first half. Again, ahead of this second meeting with Mark Hughes’s side in eight days, he reiterated the importance of enthusing his players with his “winning mentality”. The message is clear: you must be as hungry as I am. If not, trouble awaits. Conte learned as much in the first hour of their visit to Southampton last week, when they trailed 2-0 before substitute Olivier Giroud inspired a late comeback. Olivier Giroud inspired Chelsea's comeback against Southampton Credit: AFP “If we are the team that played the first half and a part of the second half [at St Mary’s], we must be concerned,” Conte said. “Really concerned. If we go to play with the right team spirit, like against Burnley [on Thursday] or in the last minutes of the Southampton game, we have a possibility of reaching the final. But my players have to know this.” Conte has been here before, overseeing the defeat of Tottenham Hotspur in a thrilling semi-final last season before they went on to be beaten by an under-strength Arsenal in the final, which clearly still grates. “I must be honest,” he said. “Last season we missed a great chance to win the FA Cup. We were in the best condition to try and go and win the FA Cup, and we missed that chance. It was our fault. We could do better. In that moment, we were stronger than them.” Antonio Conte is rueful about losing last year's FA Cup final Credit: ACTION IMAGES Conte believes that this year’s final would be more challenging, given the calibre of the opposition. They must overcome Southampton first, though, and Conte has a decision to make over which attacking players he selects. He paired Giroud with Alvaro Morata in the victory over Burnley, and could do the same again at Wembley despite Morata’s disappointing return of two goals in 18 games since Boxing Day. Conte will be without the suspended Marcos Alonso again, while midfielder Danny Drinkwater is a doubt. The Italian should still have more than enough firepower, though, to see off the challenge of a Southampton side that remains four points away from Premier League safety with four games remaining. “I am very surprised to see them in this position in the table,” Conte said. “They have talented players. Don’t forget, only one week ago we were losing 2-0 after 60 minutes. The last game, it will be very important for our approach, for our future in this competition.” And, perhaps, for his future beyond this club.
In the tumultuous history of the modern Chelsea, where impending disaster stalks every title and each boom is followed by bust, it has become increasingly difficult to quantify the meaning of success. Would victory in the FA Cup be enough to assuage the damage of failing to qualify for next season’s Champions League? Would a triumphant day at a Wembley final wash away the various tensions that have pockmarked an awkward season? And would a domestic trophy restore to its gleaming best the reputation of Antonio Conte, a manager who has veered from brilliant to belligerent but still lays claim to being one of Europe’s finest? These are the questions that will hover over Chelsea’s players as they trot out to face Southampton in an FA Cup semi-final that provides them with a chance to salvage a campaign defined by bickering and underperformance. But for Conte, it perhaps goes further than that. For him, the FA Cup represents an opportunity to strengthen his legacy, enhance his standing and add a touch more glamour to the CV before his inevitable departure this summer. The Italian enjoys reminding people that he is a winner - “I don’t play to enjoy,” he said, on the eve of this trip to Wembley - yet his second season is dangerously close to being classified as a failure. It is arguably Conte who has the most to gain from lifting the FA Cup trophy next month, and the most to lose from allowing this season to fade into insignificance. “Every season I start with only one idea in my mind,” he said. “In my mind, in my heart, in my soul must be this winning mentality. If I win something, I did my job, not something special. If we don’t win, I am very angry, above all with myself. But at the same time I am ready to work harder to try and win something the next chance I have.” It is, one suspects, this dynamic that has made Conte so preoccupied with the mental state of his squad. As he has struggled to maintain his hold over players that have become gradually less responsive to his high-maintenance approach, Conte has become increasingly concerned with their “spirit”. He spoke after last week’s league victory over Southampton about the importance of having the right “fire in the eyes”, and said he failed to transfer the “right passion” to his players in the first half. Again, ahead of this second meeting with Mark Hughes’s side in eight days, he reiterated the importance of enthusing his players with his “winning mentality”. The message is clear: you must be as hungry as I am. If not, trouble awaits. Conte learned as much in the first hour of their visit to Southampton last week, when they trailed 2-0 before substitute Olivier Giroud inspired a late comeback. Olivier Giroud inspired Chelsea's comeback against Southampton Credit: AFP “If we are the team that played the first half and a part of the second half [at St Mary’s], we must be concerned,” Conte said. “Really concerned. If we go to play with the right team spirit, like against Burnley [on Thursday] or in the last minutes of the Southampton game, we have a possibility of reaching the final. But my players have to know this.” Conte has been here before, overseeing the defeat of Tottenham Hotspur in a thrilling semi-final last season before they went on to be beaten by an under-strength Arsenal in the final, which clearly still grates. “I must be honest,” he said. “Last season we missed a great chance to win the FA Cup. We were in the best condition to try and go and win the FA Cup, and we missed that chance. It was our fault. We could do better. In that moment, we were stronger than them.” Antonio Conte is rueful about losing last year's FA Cup final Credit: ACTION IMAGES Conte believes that this year’s final would be more challenging, given the calibre of the opposition. They must overcome Southampton first, though, and Conte has a decision to make over which attacking players he selects. He paired Giroud with Alvaro Morata in the victory over Burnley, and could do the same again at Wembley despite Morata’s disappointing return of two goals in 18 games since Boxing Day. Conte will be without the suspended Marcos Alonso again, while midfielder Danny Drinkwater is a doubt. The Italian should still have more than enough firepower, though, to see off the challenge of a Southampton side that remains four points away from Premier League safety with four games remaining. “I am very surprised to see them in this position in the table,” Conte said. “They have talented players. Don’t forget, only one week ago we were losing 2-0 after 60 minutes. The last game, it will be very important for our approach, for our future in this competition.” And, perhaps, for his future beyond this club.
Antonio Conte hoping to salvage season and strengthen Chelsea legacy with FA Cup victory over Southampton
In the tumultuous history of the modern Chelsea, where impending disaster stalks every title and each boom is followed by bust, it has become increasingly difficult to quantify the meaning of success. Would victory in the FA Cup be enough to assuage the damage of failing to qualify for next season’s Champions League? Would a triumphant day at a Wembley final wash away the various tensions that have pockmarked an awkward season? And would a domestic trophy restore to its gleaming best the reputation of Antonio Conte, a manager who has veered from brilliant to belligerent but still lays claim to being one of Europe’s finest? These are the questions that will hover over Chelsea’s players as they trot out to face Southampton in an FA Cup semi-final that provides them with a chance to salvage a campaign defined by bickering and underperformance. But for Conte, it perhaps goes further than that. For him, the FA Cup represents an opportunity to strengthen his legacy, enhance his standing and add a touch more glamour to the CV before his inevitable departure this summer. The Italian enjoys reminding people that he is a winner - “I don’t play to enjoy,” he said, on the eve of this trip to Wembley - yet his second season is dangerously close to being classified as a failure. It is arguably Conte who has the most to gain from lifting the FA Cup trophy next month, and the most to lose from allowing this season to fade into insignificance. “Every season I start with only one idea in my mind,” he said. “In my mind, in my heart, in my soul must be this winning mentality. If I win something, I did my job, not something special. If we don’t win, I am very angry, above all with myself. But at the same time I am ready to work harder to try and win something the next chance I have.” It is, one suspects, this dynamic that has made Conte so preoccupied with the mental state of his squad. As he has struggled to maintain his hold over players that have become gradually less responsive to his high-maintenance approach, Conte has become increasingly concerned with their “spirit”. He spoke after last week’s league victory over Southampton about the importance of having the right “fire in the eyes”, and said he failed to transfer the “right passion” to his players in the first half. Again, ahead of this second meeting with Mark Hughes’s side in eight days, he reiterated the importance of enthusing his players with his “winning mentality”. The message is clear: you must be as hungry as I am. If not, trouble awaits. Conte learned as much in the first hour of their visit to Southampton last week, when they trailed 2-0 before substitute Olivier Giroud inspired a late comeback. Olivier Giroud inspired Chelsea's comeback against Southampton Credit: AFP “If we are the team that played the first half and a part of the second half [at St Mary’s], we must be concerned,” Conte said. “Really concerned. If we go to play with the right team spirit, like against Burnley [on Thursday] or in the last minutes of the Southampton game, we have a possibility of reaching the final. But my players have to know this.” Conte has been here before, overseeing the defeat of Tottenham Hotspur in a thrilling semi-final last season before they went on to be beaten by an under-strength Arsenal in the final, which clearly still grates. “I must be honest,” he said. “Last season we missed a great chance to win the FA Cup. We were in the best condition to try and go and win the FA Cup, and we missed that chance. It was our fault. We could do better. In that moment, we were stronger than them.” Antonio Conte is rueful about losing last year's FA Cup final Credit: ACTION IMAGES Conte believes that this year’s final would be more challenging, given the calibre of the opposition. They must overcome Southampton first, though, and Conte has a decision to make over which attacking players he selects. He paired Giroud with Alvaro Morata in the victory over Burnley, and could do the same again at Wembley despite Morata’s disappointing return of two goals in 18 games since Boxing Day. Conte will be without the suspended Marcos Alonso again, while midfielder Danny Drinkwater is a doubt. The Italian should still have more than enough firepower, though, to see off the challenge of a Southampton side that remains four points away from Premier League safety with four games remaining. “I am very surprised to see them in this position in the table,” Conte said. “They have talented players. Don’t forget, only one week ago we were losing 2-0 after 60 minutes. The last game, it will be very important for our approach, for our future in this competition.” And, perhaps, for his future beyond this club.
In the tumultuous history of the modern Chelsea, where impending disaster stalks every title and each boom is followed by bust, it has become increasingly difficult to quantify the meaning of success. Would victory in the FA Cup be enough to assuage the damage of failing to qualify for next season’s Champions League? Would a triumphant day at a Wembley final wash away the various tensions that have pockmarked an awkward season? And would a domestic trophy restore to its gleaming best the reputation of Antonio Conte, a manager who has veered from brilliant to belligerent but still lays claim to being one of Europe’s finest? These are the questions that will hover over Chelsea’s players as they trot out to face Southampton in an FA Cup semi-final that provides them with a chance to salvage a campaign defined by bickering and underperformance. But for Conte, it perhaps goes further than that. For him, the FA Cup represents an opportunity to strengthen his legacy, enhance his standing and add a touch more glamour to the CV before his inevitable departure this summer. The Italian enjoys reminding people that he is a winner - “I don’t play to enjoy,” he said, on the eve of this trip to Wembley - yet his second season is dangerously close to being classified as a failure. It is arguably Conte who has the most to gain from lifting the FA Cup trophy next month, and the most to lose from allowing this season to fade into insignificance. “Every season I start with only one idea in my mind,” he said. “In my mind, in my heart, in my soul must be this winning mentality. If I win something, I did my job, not something special. If we don’t win, I am very angry, above all with myself. But at the same time I am ready to work harder to try and win something the next chance I have.” It is, one suspects, this dynamic that has made Conte so preoccupied with the mental state of his squad. As he has struggled to maintain his hold over players that have become gradually less responsive to his high-maintenance approach, Conte has become increasingly concerned with their “spirit”. He spoke after last week’s league victory over Southampton about the importance of having the right “fire in the eyes”, and said he failed to transfer the “right passion” to his players in the first half. Again, ahead of this second meeting with Mark Hughes’s side in eight days, he reiterated the importance of enthusing his players with his “winning mentality”. The message is clear: you must be as hungry as I am. If not, trouble awaits. Conte learned as much in the first hour of their visit to Southampton last week, when they trailed 2-0 before substitute Olivier Giroud inspired a late comeback. Olivier Giroud inspired Chelsea's comeback against Southampton Credit: AFP “If we are the team that played the first half and a part of the second half [at St Mary’s], we must be concerned,” Conte said. “Really concerned. If we go to play with the right team spirit, like against Burnley [on Thursday] or in the last minutes of the Southampton game, we have a possibility of reaching the final. But my players have to know this.” Conte has been here before, overseeing the defeat of Tottenham Hotspur in a thrilling semi-final last season before they went on to be beaten by an under-strength Arsenal in the final, which clearly still grates. “I must be honest,” he said. “Last season we missed a great chance to win the FA Cup. We were in the best condition to try and go and win the FA Cup, and we missed that chance. It was our fault. We could do better. In that moment, we were stronger than them.” Antonio Conte is rueful about losing last year's FA Cup final Credit: ACTION IMAGES Conte believes that this year’s final would be more challenging, given the calibre of the opposition. They must overcome Southampton first, though, and Conte has a decision to make over which attacking players he selects. He paired Giroud with Alvaro Morata in the victory over Burnley, and could do the same again at Wembley despite Morata’s disappointing return of two goals in 18 games since Boxing Day. Conte will be without the suspended Marcos Alonso again, while midfielder Danny Drinkwater is a doubt. The Italian should still have more than enough firepower, though, to see off the challenge of a Southampton side that remains four points away from Premier League safety with four games remaining. “I am very surprised to see them in this position in the table,” Conte said. “They have talented players. Don’t forget, only one week ago we were losing 2-0 after 60 minutes. The last game, it will be very important for our approach, for our future in this competition.” And, perhaps, for his future beyond this club.
Antonio Conte hoping to salvage season and strengthen Chelsea legacy with FA Cup victory over Southampton
In the tumultuous history of the modern Chelsea, where impending disaster stalks every title and each boom is followed by bust, it has become increasingly difficult to quantify the meaning of success. Would victory in the FA Cup be enough to assuage the damage of failing to qualify for next season’s Champions League? Would a triumphant day at a Wembley final wash away the various tensions that have pockmarked an awkward season? And would a domestic trophy restore to its gleaming best the reputation of Antonio Conte, a manager who has veered from brilliant to belligerent but still lays claim to being one of Europe’s finest? These are the questions that will hover over Chelsea’s players as they trot out to face Southampton in an FA Cup semi-final that provides them with a chance to salvage a campaign defined by bickering and underperformance. But for Conte, it perhaps goes further than that. For him, the FA Cup represents an opportunity to strengthen his legacy, enhance his standing and add a touch more glamour to the CV before his inevitable departure this summer. The Italian enjoys reminding people that he is a winner - “I don’t play to enjoy,” he said, on the eve of this trip to Wembley - yet his second season is dangerously close to being classified as a failure. It is arguably Conte who has the most to gain from lifting the FA Cup trophy next month, and the most to lose from allowing this season to fade into insignificance. “Every season I start with only one idea in my mind,” he said. “In my mind, in my heart, in my soul must be this winning mentality. If I win something, I did my job, not something special. If we don’t win, I am very angry, above all with myself. But at the same time I am ready to work harder to try and win something the next chance I have.” It is, one suspects, this dynamic that has made Conte so preoccupied with the mental state of his squad. As he has struggled to maintain his hold over players that have become gradually less responsive to his high-maintenance approach, Conte has become increasingly concerned with their “spirit”. He spoke after last week’s league victory over Southampton about the importance of having the right “fire in the eyes”, and said he failed to transfer the “right passion” to his players in the first half. Again, ahead of this second meeting with Mark Hughes’s side in eight days, he reiterated the importance of enthusing his players with his “winning mentality”. The message is clear: you must be as hungry as I am. If not, trouble awaits. Conte learned as much in the first hour of their visit to Southampton last week, when they trailed 2-0 before substitute Olivier Giroud inspired a late comeback. Olivier Giroud inspired Chelsea's comeback against Southampton Credit: AFP “If we are the team that played the first half and a part of the second half [at St Mary’s], we must be concerned,” Conte said. “Really concerned. If we go to play with the right team spirit, like against Burnley [on Thursday] or in the last minutes of the Southampton game, we have a possibility of reaching the final. But my players have to know this.” Conte has been here before, overseeing the defeat of Tottenham Hotspur in a thrilling semi-final last season before they went on to be beaten by an under-strength Arsenal in the final, which clearly still grates. “I must be honest,” he said. “Last season we missed a great chance to win the FA Cup. We were in the best condition to try and go and win the FA Cup, and we missed that chance. It was our fault. We could do better. In that moment, we were stronger than them.” Antonio Conte is rueful about losing last year's FA Cup final Credit: ACTION IMAGES Conte believes that this year’s final would be more challenging, given the calibre of the opposition. They must overcome Southampton first, though, and Conte has a decision to make over which attacking players he selects. He paired Giroud with Alvaro Morata in the victory over Burnley, and could do the same again at Wembley despite Morata’s disappointing return of two goals in 18 games since Boxing Day. Conte will be without the suspended Marcos Alonso again, while midfielder Danny Drinkwater is a doubt. The Italian should still have more than enough firepower, though, to see off the challenge of a Southampton side that remains four points away from Premier League safety with four games remaining. “I am very surprised to see them in this position in the table,” Conte said. “They have talented players. Don’t forget, only one week ago we were losing 2-0 after 60 minutes. The last game, it will be very important for our approach, for our future in this competition.” And, perhaps, for his future beyond this club.
Boxing - Amir Khan v Phil Lo Greco - Echo Arena, Liverpool, Britain - April 21, 2018 Amir Khan celebrates with his trainer Joe Goossen after winning the fight as Phil Lo Greco looks on Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge
Amir Khan v Phil Lo Greco
Boxing - Amir Khan v Phil Lo Greco - Echo Arena, Liverpool, Britain - April 21, 2018 Amir Khan celebrates with his trainer Joe Goossen after winning the fight as Phil Lo Greco looks on Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

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