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Chelsea boss: Conte plays down talk of feud between Luiz and Aguero

 

By Matt McGeechan

David Luiz continues to require ongoing treatment to a knee injury sustained in a tackle by Sergio Aguero in December, but Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte says there will be no bad blood in tonight's clash between the sides.

Chelsea's 3-1 win at the Etihad Stadium ended in acrimony as City striker Aguero caught Chelsea defender Luiz on the knee, sparking a touchline melee.

Aguero and Fernandinho were sent off, the latter for pushing Cesc Fabregas over the advertising hoardings, and the clubs were punished by the Football Association.

Conte said: "I think now his knee is better than before and for sure he needs to have the treatment.

"It's not important (the game at City). We must understand that when there is a game and above all if someone is losing the game, it can happen this type of situation. I have great respect for Aguero."

Chelsea saw their 10-point lead at the top of the Premier League cut to seven with defeat at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Second-placed Tottenham, who play at Swansea tonight, could cut the gap further if Chelsea drop points against City.

Pep Guardiola's City enter the fixture in fourth, 11 points adrift.

Guardiola had recently anointed Chelsea champions - something then laughed off as mind games by Conte, who denies the title race is over.

"It's normal with 27 points available that anything can happen in the league," Conte added.

"We need 21 points to win the league mathematically. I think we are in a really good position.

"Nobody thought that Chelsea could fight this season for the title, but we stay there. We stay there and we want to keep this position.

"I hope that who wins this league will deserve to win the league."

The defeat to Palace has not unduly concerned the Chelsea boss, who continued: "It's an important part of the season, but we have to continue in the same way, to work, to work very, very hard. To prepare in the right way every single game. To keep concentration.

"I'm pleased for my players. I'm always seeing great commitment of my players.

"It can happen. You can lose a game, but I think we didn't deserve to lose the game against Crystal Palace. Football is wonderful also for this type of result."

City manager Pep Guardiola has suggested Gabriel Jesus could be back in action soon after making a swift recovery from a broken foot.

Brazil striker Jesus returned to light training on Monday, seven weeks after undergoing surgery to repair the metatarsal fractured in February's Premier League victory at Bournemouth.

There were fears the impressive new signing could miss the rest of the season but City are pleased with his progress.

Guardiola said: "I don't know exactly how many weeks he needs to come back but I think he is at the end of the part of the process to come back, so we will see.

"Hopefully he can help us in the last games at the end of the season."

Chelsea

Man City

Premier League:

Stamford Bridge, Tonight, 8.00pm

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