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Antonio Conte was full of praise when asked about new Chelsea signing Davide Zappacosta, who scored on his first appearance for the Blues in Champions League opener against Qarabag.

“For him it was his first appearance in the Champions League, – Conte pointed out speaking to the club’s official website ahead of Arsenal clash – To score a goal, you must be happy and it helps improve your confidence – all positive things. He scored an amazing goal. He was honest to say he tried to cross but during the game he had other chances to score, and don’t forget at Leicester he was very close to scoring another goal”.

“This is positive, and he’s a really good guy. Davide knew very well my idea of football and for this reason he was ready to start the game against Qarabag”.

Conte added: “He’s in a good physical condition. I was pleased with his performance. Now he has to continue to improve himself and to adapt to this league”.

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Alvaro Morata scored three goals since he joined Chelsea this summer from Real Madrid on an initial £58m fee.

His compatriot Cesc Fabregas recently noted that Morata only scored with headers so far: “If he scores with his head, his feet, his chest, his back it’s not important – Conte said – It’s important he scores and improves himself every day. Morata is a really good striker and don’t forget he is very young. He can improve a lot.

Despite being a young player, he has played with Real Madrid and Juventus. He’s won a lot in his career and he has great international experience”.

Conte added: “We are happy to have him in our team. We are trying to work very hard with him to adapt him to our style of football. For me the striker is very important. He’s a good guy and he wants to improve a lot and become one of the best”.

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Antonio Conte has confirmed this afternoon that Chelsea’s latest signing Danny Drinkwater won’t make his debut for the Premier League champions until the International break, following a calf injury suffered ahead of Champions League clash against Qarabag.

The England international joined Chelsea from Leicester City on a £35m move on Deadline Day, but he didn’t feature in the last Premier League game of the Blues against the Foxes.

Conte said“He had a muscular problem in his calf. I think it’s very difficult to see him before the international break. He needs time to recover.

“It’s a pity because he was starting to work and to improve his physical condition. Now we have to move all these situations. And in two, three weeks, four weeks, I don’t know.”

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“I think Arsenal are one of the six top teams in England and I think they have a really good squad to fight for something important, this is a massive game for us. – Antonio Conte said speaking ahead of next Chelsea game against Arsenal – It’s the same when you play again Liverpool or Manchester United or Totteham, anything can happen, we have to pay attention, we have to fight and play a good game against our rival”.

“I watched the game against Koln and I guess Wenger rotated a lot players, so I guess it’s not an advantage for them. Arsenal always play with 4 at the back and I don’t think they will change their system against us”.

Chelsea suffered 10-men defeats in FA Cup Final and Community Shield to Arsenal. Conte hopes ‘to finish the game with 11 players this time’.

“In the last two games we finished with 10 men and I hope this – he insisted – then during the game I think to do the best. For sure when you start the game you always try to keep the right discipline, in both situations you have to value very well if there was a red card or not”.

“Arsenal are a big rival in the title race and if you their squad you can see they got a lot of top players, I don’t understand why they cannot fight for the title, they lost only one player [Oxlade-Chamberlain]  and they kept all the players in their squad.”

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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, as we reported earlier, gave injury updates on latest signing Danny Drinkwater and Eden Hazard, who is recovering step by step from a bad injury suffered last season.

When quizzed about Drinkwater’s condition ahead of next game against Arsenal, Conte said: “He’s got a muscular problem in his calf, I think it’s not possible to see him before international break, I think it’s a pity, because he was starting to adapt to the new club and our idea of football.”

About Hazard: “The best thing it’s to make the best decision for every game, also trying to win because it’s very important, now there is another game against Arsenal, we have another day to check the physical condition.

“Hazard is improving and I think to wait it’s a decision that it’s paying, he’s very close to be fit, I have to make the best decision for the players.

Captain Gary Cahill is set for a comeback following a three-games ban due to the red card he received against Burnley: “Cahill came back against Qarabag and played very well, he had a good performance, – Conte said – I have another day to reflect and take the best decision for Sunday.

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Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo has confirmed interest in Chelsea AWOL striker Diego Costa, who repeatedly admitted he wants to rejoin the La Liga giants despite transfer ban until January 2018.

“We can not register players until January but we can sign – Cerezo said – We want Costa. Another thing is that we can bring him because there are always a number of circumstances for a negotiation to go through”.

A move is on the verge of being completed, but some issues need to be solved: “If that is solved – Cerezo confirmed – Costa will come. If it is not solved, he won’t join us”.

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Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante believes new signing and compatriot Tiemoue Bakayoko will properly replace Nemanja Matic, who ‘for sure, was a good player for Chelsea’.

“I know he was in Chelsea for many years – Kante added – I had the chance to play one year with him and he was a very good player for me. We spent a good season together”.

Matic joined Manchester United on a summer £35m move from Chelsea: “He left now, he plays for United but Bakayoko has come and I think he’s a good player, and that we can do very well with him. Some players joined the club but it is like that in every club”.

“We try to make them feel good quickly and to understand how we play, how we train. I think they did very well. Bakayoko scored his first goal. Zappacosta scored his first goal and it is good for them and good for us. We need everyone this month.”

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Cesar Azpilicueta, who scored in last night’s Champions League debut for Chelsea, recalled the Blues‘ disappointing start to the season with a home defeat against Burnley in August.

“It was a really disappointing start, the loss against Burnley – he said – It was not expected by anyone, but the reaction of the team was very good. Now we have had three wins in a row, some tough games, and now we have confidence and we will try to keep going”.

Azpilicueta is confident ahead of next Premier League clash against Arsenal: “It’s always special to play against Arsenal, it’s a London derby. It’s true they have lost two games already but we are focused on doing our game in front of our fans at Stamford Bridge.

We know the atmosphere the stadium gets in those type of games and we will try to carry on our winning streak”.

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Qarabag manager Gurban Gurbanov believes Antonio Conte’s men are one of the favourite teams to lift the Champions League trophy in May.

“The game was very difficult for us – Gurbanov noted – Chelsea played very good. We made lots of errors and I accept we must play even better, but I am satisfied with the way we played”.

Then he added: “Chelsea is a favourite for the tournament”.

Pedro, Cesar Azpilicueta, Davide Zappacosta, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Michy Batshuayi all scored in Chelsea’s 6-0 win over the Azerbaijan side at Stamford Bridge last night.


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Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi believes his side made a great impact in the Champions League, given that Qarabag clash was a debut in the competition for the Belgian star, Marcos Alonso, Davide Zappacosta and N’Golo Kanté.

Batshuayi replaced Alvaro Morata last night as Antonio Conte made significant changes to face the Azerbaijan side at Stamford Bridge.

“The clean sheet also and for me and for Marcos Alonso, Davide Zappacosta and N’Golo Kante – he said – It was our first game in the Champions League and to win the first game is very good”.

‘You know I don’t play every game but when I have time [on the pitch] it is good to score. No game is easy in the Champions League, every game is a good game so you stay focused to try to win every game. Now I concentrate on the next game with Arsenal and to train well and try to win the game”.

Conte said: “I wanted to give a good chance to Michy, it means that I trust my players”.


Chelsea manager Antonio Conte spoke ahead of the upcoming Premier League game between the Blues and Burnley, who are showing brilliant football as 7th...