But as the Magpies added fifth-placed Chelsea to the recent scalps of Manchester United and Arsenal, the reigning champions headed south having given themselves little chance overhauling Liverpool in the race for the top four with an insipid display.
According to Matt Law of the Telegraph the Chelsea squad were left bewildered by their coaches team selection last Wednesday night.
'We have six days to change our approach and desire and will to fight.
Conte contradicted reports the Cup final will bring the curtain down on his two-year reign.
"For me, this is important, not speculation around me".More news: Dame Tessa Jowell has died aged 70
After the disastrous 2016/17 campaign in which they finished 10 - their worst Premier League position since 1995/96 - Conte restored order.
"I think so, I think so".
Conte said in his post-match comments that Chelsea did not deserve anything in the game at St. James' Park.
"Failing to make the Champions League can happen".
You have to think that he could have done a better job than Alvaro Morata has in the second-half of this season.More news: United States will help China's ZTE 'get back into business'
This could also have been a final game in charge for Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez, with the Spaniard's future in doubt pending key talks with the club's owner Mike Ashley in the next week.
"I feel sorry for the fans that came up here today".
Cesar Azpilicueta picked out Ross Barkley's run into the box with a fine 33rd-minute pass as Chelsea threatened briefly, but the former Everton midfielder ran out of time and space before he could get a shot away.
Despite all but missing out on Champions League football next season, Roman Abramovich is aware that an attacking impetus brought to the club by either Enrique or Sarri would boost their attempts to secure Hazard on a new £300,000-per-week contract. "After Saturday, we go on vacation and then we will see next season".
Here, we look at some talking points from the game.More news: China's first indigenously built aircraft carrier leaves for sea trials
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