Chelsea manager Antonio Conte savoured his much-changed side’s progression after substitute Alvaro Morata’s last-gasp strike fired the Blues to the Carabao Cup semi-finals at the expense of Bournemouth.
Morata scored an injury-time winner, moments after former Everton midfielder Dan Gosling appeared to have sent the clash into extra-time as he cancelled out Willian’s first-half opener.
The Stamford Bridge outfit will face Arsenal in an all-London last-four showdown, and Conte was happy to revel in their advancement in spite of making eight changes from Saturday’s Premier League win over Southampton.
“The most important thing is that we are in the semi-finals,” said Conte. “Last season we were eliminated in the fourth round by West Ham. This season we must be happy with this achievement. It’s great for us, especially because we reached the semi-final with a lot of rotations.
“To reach the semi-finals is a remarkable achievement for us. We want to reach Wembley and play the final, but we know the other teams want the same.”
Chelsea’s victory was soured, however, by Morata receiving his fifth booking of the season by referee Lee Mason for celebrating excessively, meaning he will miss the club’s Premier League clash at Everton on Saturday.
“It’s a big loss for us, especially because we have to play a tough game against Everton,” added Conte. “It’s a pity, but we have to accept it.”
Chelsea opened the scoring on 13 minutes when combination play between Michy Batshuayi and Kenedy preceded Cesc Fabregas surging into the penalty area and squaring for Willian to stroke home.
Gosling curled an effort from the edge of the box past Chelsea’s stand-in stopper Willy Caballero as the showdown hinted at extra-time, only for Morata to collect Eden Hazard’s flick and poke beyond Artur Boruc.