Thibaut Courtois is backing Michy Batshuayi to deliver more goals and compete with Alvaro Morata for the right to be Chelsea’s centre-forward.
The Premier League champions have invested a club-record £70million to sign Morata from Real Madrid but Courtois believes his fellow Belgian has the edge because he understands the demands of the manager.
Antonio Conte is precise with his instructions and delivers them with an intensity which was not always well received by Diego Costa.
Morata had an early taste of Conte’s style during his first Chelsea training session in Singapore on Sunday.
‘Alvaro is coming in but he has to adapt to our system,’ said Courtois. ‘So, maybe Michy has a slight advantage. A new player always has to fit into the team.
‘It’s good that Morata is coming in, obviously. He’s been training with Real Madrid and maybe he will be able to play against Bayern or Inter. That’s good because he needs to feel our way of playing because it’s different.
‘Michy is a good striker so if he keeps scoring there is no reason to change. He knows in pre-season he is the first option. He has to do well, obviously.’
Batshuayi scored two goals in a 3-0 win against Arsenal in Beijing on Saturday and two against Fulham in a low-key training game behind closed doors, a week earlier.
The 23-year-old Belgium striker, signed for £32m from Marseille last summer, only started one Premier League game last season but finished the campaign with a flurry of four goals in three games.
Pre-season has started with him in the same prolific form.
‘Michy is a top striker,’ said Courtois. ‘He showed that in Marseille and with the national team. With Diego scoring a lot of goals last season he didn’t get a lot of chances.
‘Maybe he didn’t always do what the manager asked. He is very demanding when it comes to the strikers as well.
‘He knows that Diego is leaving and he has a chance to prove himself. He is training well, doing what the manager asks and is scoring goals. For him it is good. He needs to show that mentality every day in training and in every game.’
Scoring the goal to win the title at West Bromwich Albion in May seemed to boost Batshuayi’s confidence, although Courtois insists he has never been short of self-belief.
‘Michy always believes in himself, that goal didn’t change him,’ said Chelsea’s goalkeeper. ‘That goal didn’t change him. It was an important goal for the club and he will always be remembered as the guy that gave us the title against West Brom.
‘It will always be special for him. I don’t think it gave him more confidence. He is the kind of guy who believes he belongs in the squad. He works hard in training, never complains and that is a good aspect. I think he is the same.’
Conte will be relieved to have Morata on board as he is without his first-choice attacking trio from last season.
Eden Hazard is recovering from a broken ankle, Pedro has been sent home with concussion and facial injuries and Costa is exiled, awaiting a transfer to Atletico Madrid.
‘I like him, he is a very good striker,’ said Courtois, when asked about Morata’ s arrival from Real Madrid. ‘He knows how to position himself well and has great technical ability.
‘When he did get a chance to play last season, he scored. He will give us a lot of goals. He has already had a lot of pressure at Real Madrid and Juventus. If he can handle it there and score a lot of goals, I have no doubt he can do it here, too.’
Morata could make his debut against Bayern Munich on Tuesday. Chelsea play Inter Milan on Saturday before returning to London.