Antonio Conte spoke ahead of the Crystal Palace away clash and claimed neither Alvaro Morata nor N’Golo Kante will be fit for the game after picking up hamstring injuries, as well as Danny Drinkwater, who has been recovering from a calf injury since the beginning of September:
“I hope to have Morata for the game with Roma next week,” Conte revealed.
“Drinkwater we have to wait, calf problems are not easy. With Kante we are going to do a scan next week to check his situation, his improving, he’s got an hamstring problem.
“It’s a big loss for us, you know very well how he is important for us, we don’t have another player with the same characteristics.
“We are not lucky in this period, we have only Bakyoko and Fabregas available, we have to find different solutions, we have to adapt some defenders as midfielders, or use Scott or Ampadu in the first team.
“Kante will be out around 20 days, more or less, for this reason we have to do another scan after one week, to understand the situation very well, to see the improvement, he’s a big loss and it’s a big problem for us.
“For sure we have to approach these seven games without him, we have Fabregas and Bakayoko, then youngsters, we have to find a solution, it will be very difficult to play with Fabregas and Bakayoko for seven games in a row, of course we have to hope to have no more injuries in these games.
“I think an injury can happen during the international break but not only there, for example Morata picked up a injury with Man City, we have to hope they come back in good physical conditions.
“I guess now it’s important to be focused on the present, on the next game, to do our job in the best way to put all our best.”
About his future, Conte said:
“I think that in the last weeks I’ve read wrong things, in the interview I gave I just said that one day, in the future, I would like to go back to Italy.
“I know my position, I have two more years of contract with Chelsea, I like to work here, I like to work with my players, I like the great feeling I got with the fans. My family now stays here and my daughter is going to school here in Cobham, I want to clarify this.
“When a coach starts the work with the club for sure he hopes to stay for a long time and to build something important with the club. Our job is very difficult because everything can change in one day.”
Andrea Pirlo announced he will retire from his footballer career in the end of the year and speculations claimed he could end up working as Conte’s assistant:
“I know that Andrea decided to retire and finish his career in December with NYCFC, I think in this moment he doesn’t know his future and what he wants to do once he’s finished with his career,” the Italian manager stated.
On adapting David Luiz as a midfielder during Kante’s absence he said:
“We are speaking to adapt a player – David Luiz- that is very important as a central defender, because for me David is important as a central defender, if I can I prefer not to change a lot, because if you find a system, you can lose something, to play with three central midfielders could be an option, but I don’t want to change a lot, but if there is the necessity I am ready to do this and I am also ready to give chances to young players, like Ampadu or Scott.“
Continuing to speak about next games, Conte said:
“We must be focused to work, we must be focused to do our jobs, the players and I, I think this must be the most important thing for us. Some issues are not important, now it’s important to look at the next game.
“Bathsuayi started against Burnley, Qarabag, so he has no problem to start other games.”
Speaking about Kenedy, who last summer ended the Asian tour in advance for some controversial posts on the social media, he said:
“I think his mind must be focused on the pitch, not on social media, I think my task is to help him to find the right way, not the wrong way. I explained it to him, I am sure he understood, I think he has to continue to work like he’s doing, social media are not the most important thing in his career. he’s a very talented player, I see him very well, he’s got a good prospect to become an important player for Chelsea, he has to continue this way, I am sure his chance will come.”
Speaking about academy players to be insert in the first team, Conte said:
“We tried to do this last season, don’t forget that a lot of players from the academy players played in different games, they will play a lot in Carabao Cup, I think they will have the opportunity to play for Chelsea.”
And,finally, about Andreas Christensen and Charlie Musonda’s development:
“I think he can be a good example that, after two years on loan and after a good experience with Borussia Mönchengladbach, he’s becoming an important player with Chelsea. Charlie has to continue this way, we have only three number 10 and usually we play with two, he’s a talented player and I am sure he will have a good career, if his attention is more on the pitch and not on the social media.”