Full Press Conference: Conte talks about Luiz, Cahill, Musonda and Batshuayi injured, Italy return and more

What’s the injury situation?

“Any injuries? Batshuayi has a problem in his ankle. Then Musonda has a problem in his knee. About Moses, yes, he’s progressing well and I hope to see him back next week. That’s all.”

Is David Luiz in the squad?

“Yes, David Luiz is in the squad.”

How has he reacted to being dropped for the Manchester United game?”

“I repeat, it was a technical decision. When it’s a tactical decision, every single player has to react well and accept my decision. It’s normal, this.”

“But I think that I stay here to speak for the team before an important game against West Bromwich, and not to speak about one single player. I don’t like that. I like to speak about the team and the next game that we have to pay great attention to. This is the most important thing. Not speaking about one single player. I repeat: I don’t like to speak about a single player.”

Good memories from the Hawthorns from winning the league there?

“It was a fantastic moment for me, for the players, for the club, for our fans. In the second game, we won mathematically the league. It was great. I remember this moment very well.

“I’m proud for what we did last season. But, for sure, now we have to look at the present. This will be a really tough game because West Bromwich, also last season… we played two games [against them] and both games were very difficult for us, at home and away. But we want to continue to try to win in the league, but we know for sure this game will be very difficult for us.”

Regrets over sending away Loftus-Cheek and Abraham? Any chance of recalling them?

“I think we are talking about two young players, and two really good players, and for sure Ruben and Tammy will be the future for Chelsea. Now it’s right for them to play regularly.

“Ruben, I read his interview. He said it’s perfect to play this season regularly. It’s very important for his development, and to come back and play for Chelsea with great maturity. It’s the same path as Christensen, who played for two years on loan and now he’s playing regularly for Chelsea. Now he’s a young player, but he’s a Chelsea player and an important Chelsea player.”

Drinkwater’s World Cup chances damaged by not going to play with England?

“No, I don’t think so. He was very honest. During the game against United he took a knock on his calf, and after the game he had to do a training session to recover the best form, and instead he stopped himself to try and have treatment and to recover.

“Only this week he started to work with us again. It means that the player was clear, was intelligent. I don’t understand why we have to try always to find a problem.”

Thoughts on Italy and who should be the next boss

“I think that this is not a great moment for us, for my country. To miss the World Cup after 56 years, it means it’s a disaster for us. You know very well how important football is in Italy.

“But it happened. Now, for sure, the federation has to find the right solution to improve this situation.”

Are you the right solution?

“But I think I must be honest: I think now it’s very difficult because, at this moment, it’s not simple. Not simple. There are a lot of rumours, a lot of news, but I think for the federation it’s right to take the right time to find the best solution for football in Italy.”

Why are you growing a beard?

“I don’t know if it looks good, but my wife suggests that I tried for once, to try with a beard. Not superstition. This is the first time. We can see tomorrow if this beard brings luck or not. But I repeat, this is the first time I’ve tried to change my look, but only because my wife decided.”

Keep it as long as you keep winning?

“Yes, yes. I hope at the end of the season to finish with a big beard.”

Nine points off City, is it possible to catch them?

“I must be honest, now Manchester City are playing very well and it’s very difficult to think that you can catch them because, if they continue in this way, it will be very difficult for any team to try and fight for the title.

“But, I think, the six top teams in England have to try. No? We have to try to fight until the end. But, for sure, it won’t be easy because I think Manchester City were very strong.

“They were a very good team last season. This season they worked very well during the transfer market and it is a team that, after this transfer market, showed themselves to be very, very strong. But football can be strange.

“It’s very difficult now to predict who will win the title in this league, but Manchester City are having a path, a very positive path. It will be very difficult for the other teams.”

Can you afford to lose any more games?

“For sure, if you want to try and catch them, you have to win every game. Every game. As you know very well, in this league, it’s very difficult to win every game.

“You have difficulty when you play against a team in the relegation zone. That’s very difficult. For example, after the international break last time, we lost against Crystal Palace. We have to remember this and understand that, if we want to try and stay there and fight for the title, it’s very important we keep winning and not drop more points.”

Is Emenalo a big loss for you?

“For sure, for sure, this is a loss, a big loss for us. With Michael, our relationship was very good. He helped me a lot last season, and also this season. For sure it was a surprise for me, his resignation from his job.

“At the same time I think that we have to respect his decision, his professional decision. Yes. And I wish for him and his family the best, the best for the present and the future.”

Players passing out from the back

“Yes, it’s positive. It’s positive. Last season I didn’t have this opportunity, no? This opportunity. This season, with Christensen, I have another opportunity, another really good opportunity, because Christensen is showing himself to be an important player for us. For sure, he’s only 21 years old. But he’s playing with great maturity. I hope to continue to improve in this way. I think that Christensen is, for Chelsea, a great source.”

How is Gary Cahill?

“Yes, he’s in contention for tomorrow’s game. Cahill. Yes. He’s okay. He’s fit.”

Any tactical changes tomorrow?

“As you know well, I like to work with my players and, in this case, after the international break we only had two days to work together and try to prepare the West Bromwich game. But I think that we worked very well.

“We are ready to play this game. Also, we have to prepare for three gamesin eight days. All important games. We have to prepare to go through in the Champions League in Azerbaijan, and then Liverpool away. We must be ready. All my players must be ready to play.”

City’s summer spending

“The reality is that Manchester City is now a real danger for every team, not only in England but all over the world. They have a fantastic team, a great manager, a great strategy – in this transfer market they showed they had a strategy to buy players to improve the team.

“Manchester City will be a great danger now only for this league, but for the whole world because I think they can fight to win everything”

Were you worried about them before the start of the season, then?

“For sure, I think they are working very well and I was worried because they were working very well in all aspects. Not only on the pitch, but off it as well.”

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