Antonio Conte sends message to Chelsea fans about Eden Hazard

epa05951523 Chelsea manager Antonio Conte reacts following his team's 3-0 win in the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea FC and Middlesborough FC at Stamford Bridge in London, Britain, 08 May 2017. EPA/ANDY RAIN EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' service. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

Antonio Conte is encouraged by Eden Hazard’s performances since his return to competitive action for Chelsea.

Hazard suffered a broken ankle during international duty at the end of the 2016-17 season after helping Chelsea to win the Premier League title in Conte’s debut campaign in charge.

The Blues forward made his first Premier League appearance in a 2-1 win against Leicester City earlier this month as a late subsitute for Cesc Fabregas at the King Power Stadium.

Hazard was brought on from the bench in Chelsea’s 6-0 win against Qarabag in the Champions League but was unable to be the west London side’s super sub in a goalless draw with Arsenal at Stamford Bridge last weekend.

Conte handed the Belgium international his first start since his ankle problem on Wednesday night and the Chelsea No10 created two goals in their 5-1 victory over Nottingham Forest in the League Cup third round.

Speaking at his media conference ahead of Chelsea’s clash against Stoke City at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday, Conte offered his verdict on Hazard’s return from injury.

“I am pleased for Eden, because in the last game he played he played very well. He played with a good intensity,” Conte said.

“Now his injury is overcome and now we have to play three games. There is the possibility now to try to pick him for these games.”

Chelsea finished seven points clear of their closest title challengers Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League title race last term.

The Blues signed six players in the summer transfer window.

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