Full Interview: Conte talks about Hazard starting, Bakayoko, Pedro, Musonda at wing back and more

Chelsea's Italian head coach Antonio Conte gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge in London on September 17, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Glyn KIRK / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

We were wondering whether you would appeal the red card for David Luiz on Sunday? Have you changed your mind? Are you not going to appeal?

No I think the situation was very clear. It was a fall before the tackle but now it’s important to move on and to look at the next game.

Can you tell us your early team thought about this next game? Are you going to change all 11 players?

I think the next game could be a good opportunity to give a chance to some players that in the last period, didn’t play a lot. It could be a good opportunity tomorrow.

Can you say who?

I’d like to tell you tomorrow. For sure tomorrow it could be a good opportunity for Charly – for Musonda – and also for Kenedy it is the same.

Kenedy has not played since being sent home from China – how has he reacted to that episode in his career?

I think he knows very well what happened in China. For sure, he made a mistake but I think everyone in life can make a mistakes. But now he is focused. He is working very well. He understood his mistake and he is ready to play and to show to deserve his place for the future.

It seems like Eden Hazard is now ready to start at Chelsea, as well. If he does start in this match, how much of a key moment do you think that could be for Chelsea’s season?

I think for Eden now is the right moment to start the game and try to play the whole game. I hope to be, with him, at the final step for the injury. I think we have managed very well his situation.

In my career I was injured a lot of times and I have a bit of experience about this situation. I think with him, we are managing the situation very well. Now he is ready to start the game and I hope to stay, with him, the final step.

He says that you improved him one week after you arrived here after his time with Mourinho. Do you think that there was an instant effect that you had on Eden Hazard?

Our work is to try to improve every single player. In the tactical aspect and the physical aspect and the mentality, I think it is very important to work with the players.

But I think the most important thing is to have players open to receive more information and to have players to have great will to learn and improve himself. I think Eden is a top player and he improved a lot. I think he can continue to improve a lot in his career and become one of the best.

How important is the League Cup to you this season?

It is one of the four competitions and for this reason we have to try to do our best in every competition that we are going to play.

You know very well in England it is not very easy to face four competitions but you have to try to do our best and tomorrow is a good opportunity to give a chance to some players that in this moment they did not play a lot.

I think it could be a good opportunity. For sure, we want to try to win. We want to go to the next round. But it is the same thought for Nottingham Forest.

Do you think, looking at your squad, that you have the squad to match Manchester United and City this season? Because after what happened at the weekend, some are saying that it’s a title that’s going to Manchester. Do you think Chelsea can muster the effort from the players to challenge them?

The best way to look at ourselves, this is the best way. We have to continue to work together and continue to improve.

You know very well the difficulty of this league, to win this league. Last season we did this. For sure, we want to try to fight until the end and I think we are a good team and we want to try to do this in the league, the Champions League, the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup.

To try to do our best. Then, you know very well that only one team will win but it is important to try your best.

Steve, just one for you. There’s reports of a final bid for Costa from [Atletico] Madrid. Is there anything you could say about that?

[Steve Atkins, Chelsea Director of Communications]: No, we never comment on media speculation or rumours in the transfer market.

Just to pick up on what was said there, did you expect such a strong response from Manchester United and Manchester City at the start of the season after what happened last season? Did you expect them to start so well?

You know very well in England there are six top teams. I think the Manchester teams are in these six teams. It is normal for United and City to be competitive and fight for the title and for the other competitions. I think it is normal

Is there anything on Pedro? He obviously came off at the weekend. He is OK? Is there anything more on him?

This season he is not lucky. He started with a bad injury in the Arsenal game – a friendly game – where he broke a bone in his face. Then he received a knock on his ankle, now on his leg.

I hope for him – but overall for our team – to be more lucky in the future.

For sure now, Pedro is trying to recover from the last injury. It is important for him also to work because don’t forget when you are injured you cannot work.

Sometimes can you lose your physical condition and you need more time to find this. But I think nothing too serious about the last injury but he needs a bit of time to recover.

Can I just ask you about Bakayoko? Obviously a lot was expected of him when he came in. What have you made of his start to the season?

Baka now has started to play. I think he is playing very well. Don’t forget last season he finished the season with surgery in his knee. Now he is in a good physical condition. He is starting to adapt himself in our style of football. I am pleased because I think these are good signs for us.

What position you play Charly Musonda in and what do you see for his future at Chelsea?

I’m sure that we are talking about a young player with a really good prospect because Charly, you can see very clearly his talent.

Now it is important I think that he is working very well, he’s trying to adapt himself in this league because this league is not simple, it is a physical league.

It is a big thing. Now he is working a lot to improve his strength and be prepared for a big impact in this league. Yes, I trust Charly. I trust Charly.

For sure, it is important for a coach to trust in a young player – in this case, Charly – but it is important also to have a good answer when the chance to play arrives.

Is he a central midfielder or is he more of an attacking midfielder in your mind?

In my mind, I think he could play number ten. He could play winger. I think, also, in the future he could play also as a wingback.

Last season, you said you don’t care about keeping players happy, every player. You want players to put themselves in your team with their performances. Is that the message you’re going to be giving the players tomorrow that are starting who haven’t had many opportunities so far this season?

No, I think after one season we are working together I don’t think it is right to send a message to my players through a press conference. They know me very well. I know them very well.

I think this season could be the opportunity for all players to play games. The most important thing is when a chance arrives, to take it. It is very important, overall, for the young players. Because In our squad we have many young players. It is important to take this chance and show me they can count.

Can I just ask you about Nottingham Forest? Do you remember watching them as a child when they won the European Cup?

Yeah, yeah.

And what are your recollections of that and how important is it to face an historic English team?

We are talking about a great club and a great history in England. I remember that in the past Nottingham Forest played also in the Champions League and is one of the most important clubs in England.

We have a great respect for them and for this reason, we have to pay great attention tomorrow. Don’t forget, in the last game they beat Newcastle. I watched a lot of games and they play good football. We must pay great attention tomorrow because, I repeat, we want to go into the next round but I am sure, also, that Nottingham Forest wants the same.

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