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Legend Wilkins is huge loss for Chelsea: Conte

By Mark Mann-Bryans

Antonio Conte has paid his respects to Chelsea "legend" Ray Wilkins following his death earlier this week.

The Blues boss spoke passionately about the club's former captain, who died aged 61 on Wednesday after a cardiac arrest.

All matches this weekend will be preceded by a moment's applause in memory of the ex-England international, whose other clubs included Manchester United, AC Milan and QPR.

Chelsea will have their own tributes to a man who worked as an assistant manager and coach with the Blues, with memories in the matchday programme, a book of condolence and a picture montage all planned ahead of tomorrow's match with West Ham.

Ahead of that game, Conte spoke about his own meetings with Wilkins and what his loss means to the club.

"It was tragic news for us," he said. "We are talking about a really good person. I was lucky to know him and speak with him many times. He was a legend for this club, an ambassador for football.

"We are very sad because it is very difficult to accept this news. We want to pass on to the family our deepest condolences and I think this is a big loss.

"I think on Sunday we must be ready to (pay tribute) to Ray.

"I think that this will be very important, then there is the game. We must have great respect for the tragedy and then think about the football."

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