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Willian “edits” Conte out of FA Cup champions photo

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Willian is not a fan of Antonio Conte.

Come to another conclusion if you like, but it’s hard to argue the Brazilian wizard’s feelings following his Instagram post after Chelsea beat Manchester United in the FA Cup Final.

[ MORE: Matic wants squad changes at Man Utd ]

Willian covered his manager in trophies following the win, and it’d be a stretch to call that a tribute to the Italian’s tactical brilliance.

The player recorded seven goals and six assists despite playing less than all but 12 Chelsea players in league play (12th place Alvaro Morata had 11 and 6).

We’re accepting alternative explanations for the since-deleted Instagram photo below:

Matic: Man Utd needs more experience in its squad

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Nemanja Matic would like to see a bit more veteran bravery in his Manchester United side.

The title-winning 29-year-old midfielder finished second in the Premier League this season, his first with the Red Devils after a strong run with Chelsea.

[ MORE: Man Utd youngster gets USMNT call-up ]

The Blues beat United in Saturday’s FA Cup Final, and Matic says the answer to winning hardware isn’t in talent as much as it is wisdom.

From the BBC:

“The only team who is better than us this year is Man City,” said Matic. “Obviously, they play amazing football. But we are second and we are in the Champions League next year, which is the most important thing. I think we need some players with some experience to bring some more qualities to our team.”

United loses one veteran cog in Michael Carrick, and both Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney have skipped town in the last year.

Who could fit the bill in terms of old hats in current United positions of weakness? Well, a full offseason for Alexis Sanchez will help, and perhaps the rumors of Toby Alderweireld make the most sense of any we’ve seen in recent weeks.

Leicester splash $29M to sign Porto, Portugal RB Pereira

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The summer transfer window only opened on Thursday, and Premier League clubs are already handling their pre-World Cup business — perhaps in an attempt to avoid the post-tournament inflation of fees and wages.

[ MORE: Chelsea top Man United to win 8th FA Cup | Three things ]

Leicester City announced on Saturday that Porto and Portugal right back Ricardo Pereira is moving to the King Power Stadium for a fee of $29.5 million. Pereira, 24, was named to Portugal’s 23-man squad for next month’s World Cup in Russia, where a strong showing could have easily lifted his price tag closer to $40 million and added another $10,000 to his weekly wages.

Having been linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur just last summer — he seemed a natural replacement and reinvestment following Kyle Walker‘s move from Tottenham to Manchester City — ninth-place Leicester will rightly feel Pereira’s arrival is something of a massive coup for the club, given his considerable European experience — both in the Champions League and Europa League — so early in his career.

[ MORE: Conte’s tumultuous tenure at Chelsea (likely) ends with a trophy ]

Pereira previously played for current Leicester manager Claude Puel while on loan to Ligue 1 side Nice (2015-16 season), and has his new boss’s seal of approval.

“I’m delighted to have a player of Ricardo’s quality on board for next season,” Puel told the club website. “I remember him well from my time at Nice.”

West Ham-linked Pellegrini released from Hebei contract

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Manuel Pellegrini has made himself more than readily available for the vacant job at West Ham United after Hebei China Fortune, Pellegrini’s current employer, announced the Chilean has been released from his contract and will leave his post on Sunday.

[ MORE: Chelsea top Man United to win 8th FA Cup | Three things ]

The London Stadium job came open this week when David Moyes was relieved of his duties following the conclusion of the 2017-18 Premier League season, which saw the Hammers finish 13th under the direction of Moyes and Slaven Bilic.

“We aim to appoint a high-calibre figure who we feel will lead the club into an exciting future for our loyal supporters within the next 10 days,” West Ham joint-chairman David Sullivan said on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Conte’s tumultuous tenure at Chelsea (likely) ends with a trophy ]

Fast-forward three days, and it would appear Sullivan and Co. have pinpointed their man, with Pellegrini, 64, set to for a face-to-face interview with the West Ham hierarchy this week.

Pellegrini’s first and only stint in the PL ended in 2016, when he left Manchester City following one PL title and two League Cups in his three seasons at the club.

Conte’s tumultuous season concludes with Chelsea glory

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When Antonio Conte arrived on the London scene in 2016 he ruffled some feathers, and for the most part it worked out in his favor during his debut campaign at Stamford Bridge.

Several innovative changes resulted in a Premier League title for Chelsea last season, and immediately it seemed as though the Italian manager would be in line to become a fan favorite for many years to come in the English capital.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Chelsea’s FA Cup win over Man United ]

Conte’s second year in charge resulted in significantly more ups and downs though, including inconsistent form in the UEFA Champions League and dropping points on the very first day of the Premier League season.

Fast forward to May 19 though, and Conte has added yet another piece of silverware to his and the club’s trophy case with Saturday’s FA Cup victory over Manchester United.

For months it has seemed like a foregone conclusion that Conte would no longer be in charge of the Blues in 2018/19 — which still may be the case — but regardless of what Saturday’s result was there’s no arguing Conte’s prowess as a manager.

It was always going to be a difficult season for Chelsea, having been the reigning PL champions, losing Diego Costa and Nemanja Matic heading into the new campaign and seeing the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool fine-tune their squads to challenge both in the league and European competition.

All things considered, a finish outside the top four isn’t completely unexpected, which isn’t to let Conte and Co. off the hook.

It’s simply a reminder that an FA Cup victory, along with a squad that still possesses a lot of talent, can be the driving force that the Blues need heading into the summer to once again challenge for the PL title again next season.

Whether the club opts to continue its journey with Conte remains to be seen, but Saturday’s performance at Wembley Stadium proved once more that the veteran shot-caller is more-than-capable of guiding the Blues to glory.

There’s no question that heading into next season Chelsea will have to address striker once again, especially if both Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud aren’t retained.

There are also questions in the midfield surrounding Tiemoue Bakayoko, who was less than underwhelming in his first season in England.

Defensively, the club has a lot of nice pieces, particularly with Andres Christensen likely to grow into a bigger role in the future, not to mention a number of young defenders on loan like USMNT center back Matt Miazga.

Rumors will likely persist until a public declaration in favor of Conte is made by Chelsea ownership, especially with Luis Enrique and Laurent Blanc just a few names currently available on the managerial front, but there’s a case to be made for what the Italian has done in his short time in charge at Stamford Bridge, and an even bigger one for Conte to be retained ahead of August.