Antonio Conte will probably have just one first team squad midfielder for tomorrow’s clash against Watford, as the Italian manager himself revealed during a press conference today maybe only Cesc Fabregas will be fully fit to play among the midfielders, as Danny Drinkwater and N’Golo Kante are both still recovering from their long-term injuries and Tiemoué Bakayoko didn’t feel very well after the Champions League game against Roma:
“Honestly at the moment I cannot say nothing about the starting XI for tomorrow,” Conte told the press.
“I have many doubts, I have 24 hrs to recover some players, maybe Fabregas will be the only fit midfielder.
“For sure tomorrow the game will be very tough, because Watford are a good team, they got a good position in the table, but after two defeats we want to come back to win.
“It can happen to lose some games, after [the win against] Atletico we played a tough game after only two days, maybe this can be the only regret, when we played at Crystal Palace it was after international break, and then Roma after three days.”
Asked if he changed something in his training method respect to last season, Conte said:
“I don’t know about this, my method is the same of last season, when we won the league, we are working maybe 70% less in this season, that’s why we have troubles.
“We play every three days, so it’s impossible to work in technical and physical aspect like the past year.
“After two defeats in a row I am happy for the commitment and the efforts of my players, but if you ask me about the last results, I am not happy, no coach can be happy after two defeats and one draw.”
Conte was also asked if he can handle the pressure he’s under in this delicate moment of his Chelsea experience:
“I think every manager has to feel the pressure, I try to put all myself in my job, I am happy when I go to my house because I put myself 100% in my job.”
When asked if he was regretting replying to José Mourinho‘s comments ( “some manager always cry about injuries”) the Italian coach replied:
“I don’t regret replying to him, every manager has to talk about his job, himself, his team, his players, not the others. Every coach has to focus on his own work, it’s the best way to work.”
And when the journalist insisted on a comment on this topic, Conte replied:
“For me this is a stupid issue, it’s funny you’re sot interested in it.”
Asked about Danny Drinkwater‘s recovery from his calf injury and if he could risk the former Leicester midfielder in the next games Conte said:
“Danny is progressing well, now he has started to work in some part of the sessions with us, now it’s important for him to improve his physical conditions, but he’s progressing well.
“First of all it’s important to recover him very well, if I play him I will have a not fit player and maybe he will pick up another injury, 40 days have already passed, but we must have more patience and wait the right moment.”
About N’Golo Kante’s recovery from his hamstring injury, Conte said:
“I hope to have him back very soon, before the inter nation break, he is progressing well, the scan was better than before, he has started to work, not with the group. Back with Man United? It could be an option, but if he is available before, like in the away game at Rome, I will be very happy.
“I think that we have to try everything to win the game, their effort and commitment was very good and positive against Manchester City and against Roma, it’s important to win, we’re working to try to win the next game.”
“Now our priority it’s to be focused and to go game by game, every opponent can be dangerous for different reasons, we have to go game by game to try to win the game and put ourselves in a better condition.
“When you have to play four competition this is the path you must follow, to play every game with the same players is a big problem, in this way it’s impossible to work well, the game is not training, it’s different.
“If you compare the situation with Tottenham last season, don’t forget that we lost a lot of big players, a lot of players that wrote the history of this club, we signed five players and we are trying to repeat something important, but it’s normal you have to pay something in this situation.”
Questioned if he regrets to play David Luiz in the midfield against Roma, Conte said:
“When you have the necessity to do this I am not happy, because I think every player has his own role, but I think sometimes you have to adapt and you must pay for this, it’s normal.”
On tomorrow’s rival, this what the Blues boss claimed:
“I think they are doing very well, they did a really good transfer market, I’m very happy for Pozzo family, I know them very well and they have great knowledge of football, but surely tomorrow I want to ready to beat them.”