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Chelsea boss Antonio Conte coy over Romelu Lukaku links

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 09:  Romelu Lukaku of Everton celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal during the Premier League match between Everton and Leic
Image: Antonio Conte is an admirer of Romelu Lukaku but would not swap him for Diego Costa

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte insists he would not swap Diego Costa for Romelu Lukaku, despite the Everton striker being linked with a return to Stamford Bridge over the summer.

Conte's side face Everton at Goodison Park in the Sky Live clash in the first part of a title-chasers Super Sunday.

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Chelsea 4-2 Southampton

Belgium international Lukaku tops the Premier League scoring charts with 24 goals, while Chelsea talisman Costa has struck 19 times in league action.

But Conte remained coy about comparisons between the two prolific forwards, although he did admit his side must work hard to nullify the threat posed by Lukaku.

Asked if he would rather have Costa or Lukaku, Conte said: "As I've said before, for me my players are the best in the world. I wouldn't change my players with any other players.

To arrive here, a different country, a different language, to bring my philosophy, to bring my idea of football is not easy.
Antonio Conte

"I think that Lukaku is a really good player, he's scoring a lot of goals this season.

"You have to pay him great attention but it's always the same, we study the opponent and we try to find the best solution to stop them, about single players and about the team.

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"Yes we must pay great attention to Lukaku, but also Everton's other players. They have a lot of good players with good technique."

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Chelsea play at Goodison Park in a 2.05pm kick-off before Premier League title rivals Tottenham take on north London rivals Arsenal at White Hart Lane at 4.30pm.

Conte's side then face strugglers Sunderland and Middlesbrough, as well as West Brom and Watford, before the end of the campaign.

In contrast, Spurs face another London derby with West Ham and two other away games - against Leicester and Hull - with a home match against Manchester United also on the horizon.

But Conte is not convinced they have the upper hand in their bid to regain the Premier League crown they ceded to Leicester last season, insisting all games are tough at this stage of the run-in.

Could Lukaku replace Costa?
Could Lukaku replace Costa?

Everton host Chelsea on Sunday with both clubs' frontmen potentially leaving in the summer - but could Romelu Lukaku replace Diego Costa?

"In this part of the season every game is very tough for many reasons, you know that you have to win," he added.

"When you have to play with this target it's not simple, it's not easy. Not only for us, but [also] for Tottenham.

"But to arrive here, a different country, a different language, to bring my philosophy, to bring my idea of football is not easy. To fight for the title and reach the final of the FA Cup is a great achievement."

Chelsea's game at Everton could be the toughest they face in the run-in and Conte is not underestimating the threat they pose.

Antonio Conte shouts his instructions from the touch line during the Premier League match against Stoke City
Image: Conte admits they will face a tough test against Everton

"Everton are a really good team, a strong team with great players in their squad, good quality. A physical team also," said Conte.

"They have a good manager and play exciting football. For sure it will be a really tough game for us but at the end of the season I think every game becomes tough for many different reasons.

"When they play at home they are strong. For us it is very important to look at ourselves, to prepare very well for this type of game."

Watch Everton v Chelsea on Super Sunday. Coverage begins at 1pm on Sky Sports 1 HD, followed by Spurs v Arsenal at 4.15pm.

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