Chelsea as big as Barcelona or Real Madrid insists Antonio Conte

The Premier League leaders’ supreme form has naturally seen speculation about many of their key figures, with Marcos Alonso, Nemanja Matic and Cesar Azpilicueta the latest to be linked to Barca

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If any of Chelsea’s players were thinking of what it might be like at the top clubs in Spain, Antonio Conte has a message: they are already at a team as “great” as Barcelona and Real Madrid.

The Premier League leaders’ supreme form has naturally seen speculation about many of their key figures, with Marcos Alonso, Nemanja Matic and Cesar Azpilicueta the latest to be linked to Barcelona, following on from the last few seasons when the likes of Eden Hazard have constantly been talked of as potential Real Madrid signings. Conte dismissed this but pointedly issued a reminder Chelsea were worth persisting with.

“There is a lot of speculation about the players, and sometimes about me. We are doing a good job, my players and my staff, and we're doing very well. We have to continue that. It's normal for my players to be linked with other things, but don't forget Chelsea are a great team in the same way Barcelona, Real Madrid or other teams.”

John Terry’s future is more uncertain, with growing expectation he could leave at the end of the season. When asked about this, though, Conte merely re-iterated he is happy with the player’s input, in “transferring the right message” to the squad.

“I repeat: John is doing great work this season, on and off the pitch. And, for me, he's very important in this season because he's the captain and, I repeat, he's working very well on the pitch and helping me a lot in the changing room. Transferring the right message. For sure, he's an important player for us.”

Conte confirmed Chelsea have no injury worries for Monday’s FA Cup sixth-round tie with Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.

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