Chelsea will have to cope once more without Victor Moses for Sunday’s Premier League clash against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.
The Nigerian international – who was nominated for African Player of the Year earlier this week – has not lined out for the Blues in almost a month after injuring his hamstring in the defeat to Crystal Palace in October.
And Antonio Conte confirmed that Moses has “zero chance” in taking part at the weekend as he continues his recovery from what his coach described as a bad injury.
“No, zero chance,” Conte told reporters at his pre-match press conference in Cobham when asked if the 26-year-old could return against United.
“Moses’ injury was a bad injury, a bad muscular problem. We have to wait and have patience. He needs more time before he recovers.”
His absence means Conte will have to call upon one of Davide Zappacosta, Antonio Rudiger or Cesar Azpilicueta to fill in as right wingback.
Meanwhile, Conte acknowledged that he got his defensive selection wrong against Roma on Tuesday night as he selected captain Gary Cahill to play on the right side of his back three.
When asked if he had made a mistake swapping the Englishman from his usual position on the left-hand side of the formation, the Italian admitted: “Maybe. I think Cahill can play on the right or the left, but the best position for me is on the left.
Conte reveals talks with Abramovich at Chelsea training ground
Antonio Conte has revealed that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich paid a visit to watch the players train ahead of their game against Roma in the Champions League.
Abramovich made the trip to Chelsea’s training ground in Cobham on Sunday, a day after the Blues beat Bournemouth 1-0 in the Premier League.
The victory was Chelsea’s third in a row in all competitions and appeared to lift the negativity that had begun to surround the champions after they suffered back-to-back defeats in the league and drew 3-3 with Roma at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea went on to lose 3-0 to Roma in the Italian capital on Tuesday, two days after Abramovich’s visit, but Conte insisted that the Chelsea owner’s visit to watch the players train was normal.
“Yes, Mr Abramovich was in Cobham on Sunday after the Bournemouth game to watch the training, to speak. But it’s normal, this,” Conte said on Friday.
“Honestly, we spoke about the Bournemouth game and then the first game against Rome. We spoke about this.”
Chelsea trail Premier League leaders Manchester City by nine points after losing three of their 10 matches so far this season.
Despite the reigning champions’ inconsistent start to the season, Conte insisted he isn’t feeling more pressure than last year when his Chelsea side won the title with a record-breaking 30 victories.
He said: “I’m happy to work with my players. Because, I repeat, the commitment is always good. This season we are struggling. We are struggling a lot because we are facing a lot of important problems. And to solve these problems is not simple.
“But I think, in this moment, you can see if you are winners or losers. You understand? This is very important, this moment. When the period is positive, it’s very simple for everyone to play well, to have great confidence.
“In this moment, when you’re struggling, it’s important to show our character. To be strong. To face the problems in the right way. But I’m used, in my life, to doing this. I struggled a lot in my life, as a player and then as a coach also. My history, my story, tells you this.”
He added: “I feel always the same pressure. The same pressure. Because, before the game, I feel the pressure to win. In every game. Last season it was the same. When you stay on top of the table you feel the pressure to win because you want to stay on top of the table.
“Above all for me because I’m a passionate man with a great enthusiasm. I need to feel this type of pressure. Yes, I like the pressure. I was born with the pressure.”