Manchester United v Chelsea preview: Conte calls for focus at Old Trafford
Last Updated: 25/02/18 2:07pm
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has called on his team to be "focused" as they prepare to take on Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.
United sit second, two places and three points above the Blues, in what will inevitably be billed as a grudge match between Conte and United counterpart Jose Mourinho, who have exchanged barbed comments throughout the season.
Conte knows it will take a superb performance to come away with the three points.
He said at a press conference: "We must be focused for the next game and to prepare in the right way because we are talking about a very strong team with fantastic players."
Asked about his row with Mourinho, Conte added: "In the past, both (of us) have said things. For me, it's OK. I'm not interested in speaking about this."
Ander Herrera is out of Manchester United's Premier League clash against Chelsea and the next few weeks.
The Spain midfielder's attempted backheel at Sevilla in the Champions League aggravated a muscular injury, meaning Paul Pogba could return to the starting line-up.
Marouane Fellaini, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones remain absent, while Eric Bailly is in line to make his first United start since November.
Meanwhile, Conte revealed he has no fresh injury concerns, but David Luiz, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Ross Barkley remain unavailable.
Manchester United have won just one of their last 14 matches in all competitions against Chelsea (D5 L8) - winning this exact fixture last season in the Premier League (2-0).
Only Liverpool (4) have done the league double over Man Utd more times in Premier League history than Chelsea (3 - level with Man City and Arsenal).
Manchester United have lost more Premier League games (18) and conceded more Premier League goals (67) against Chelsea than they have against any other side in the competition.
Antonio Conte has won three of his four meetings in all competitions as Chelsea manager against Jose Mourinho (W3 L1) - twice in the Premier League and once in the FA Cup.
Jose Mourinho has seen his Man Utd side score more than once in just one of their seven home Premier League games against fellow 'big six' teams, although it came last season versus Chelsea (W3 D2 L2).
Mourinho has lost three matches in all competitions against Chelsea as Man Utd manager, more than against any other opponent.
Eden Hazard has found the net with each of his last three shots from open play - he had scored with three of his previous 31 open play efforts.
Romelu Lukaku has failed to score in any of his six Premier League matches against the 'big six' this season, attempting just four shots on target in those games.
It's a must-not-lose game for both teams. If United win this, they almost put Chelsea to bed with a six-point gap, with Palace next up for them. Chelsea, meanwhile, go to Man City next, which will be hugely difficult.
If United lose this, there could be a point between four teams in the top-four race, that's too close for comfort for United given they've been around second place for the entire season.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-1 (9/2 with Sky Bet)