Antonio Conte admits he is surprised at Belgium’s decision to select Eden Hazard in their squad ahead of their upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
Hazard is yet to play for Chelsea this season after he underwent surgery on his ankle following the injury he picked up playing for his country back in June.
The 26-year-old featured in a behind closed doors friendly last week but will again be absent from Chelsea’s line-up when they meet Everton in the Premier League on Sunday. ‘I’m a bit surprised by this decision,’ said Conte. ‘I respect the decision of the coach though.
‘If Hazard isn’t ready he will not play, it’s why he doesn’t play with us. I think the only players that is not fully fit is Hazard. He is improving.
‘Today in the afternoon he is playing with the Under-23s but he is not fully fit. The other players are available.
‘Honestly I see him every day. In this situation it’s very important to give the right time to players to recover very well.
‘Hazard is an important player for us and if someone thinks to accelerate the process I think it’s not the right way. In this moment we must pay great attention to not make a mistake.’
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Everton without these 8 first team players for tough away game
Everton will be without several players due to injury.
Chelsea welcome Everton at Stamford Bridge this weekend and the defending champions will be looking build on their win over Spurs last week.
Everton have done well in the Premier League so far but they will struggle this weekend due to the sheer number of injuries and fatigue. The Toffees played in the Europa League during the midweek and the home team will be a lot fresher than them.
Sandro Ramirez, Davy Klaassen, James McCarthy, Yannick Bolasie, Seamus Coleman, Ross Barkley and Ramiro Funes Mori are all sidelined for the Toffees.
Morgan Schneiderlin is suspended after picking up a red card against Manchester City.
Possible Chelsea Starting Lineup (3-4-2-1): Courtois; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Rudiger; Moses, Bakayoko, Kante, Alonso; Willian, Fabregas; Morata
Possible Everton Starting Lineup (3-4-2-1): Pickford; Keane, Williams, Jagielka; Holgate, Gueye, Davies, Baines; Calvert-Lewin, Sigurdsson; Rooney
Chelsea have a solid record against Everton at home and they will be looking to add to that. The Blues are unbeaten in their last 23 home competitive meetings with Everton and have won five of the last six matches between the two at Stamford Bridge.
Gary Cahill is suspended for the home side and Eden Hazard is still struggling with his fitness. Apart from that, Conte has a fully fit squad to choose from.
Everton are plagued with injuries right now and will struggle to cope with the home side without their best players. A home win seems likely.