David Luiz will not play a part in the final match of Chelsea’s Champions League group stage campaign due to a knee problem.
Antonio Conte is set to retain Andreas Christensen in the heart of his defence for the match against Atletico Madrid and reacted badly to questions over the Brazilian’s future at the club.
The Blues find themselves in a potentially precarious situation in Group C and could slip to second place if Diego Simeone’s side score a win at Stamford Bridge.
Roma are expected to beat Qarabag to confirm their place in the round of 16 and could top the group if Chelsea fail to win.
Yet the Premier League champions will once again have to do without Luiz whose leg is still causing the defender issues.
“David is out,” said Conte in his pre-match press conference. “This problem with his knee, trying to solve this situation. He’s out.”
The Italian did not take kindly to a follow up question over the reason for the centre-back’s absence.
“But why do you ask this question?” said Conte after he was asked whether Luiz was missing games due to a break down in his relationship with the coaching staff.
“Two weeks ago, then it was the past,” added the Chelsea boss. “Then he played against Qarabag. If you don’t trust what I tell it’s your problem not my problem.”
Luiz has been linked with a shock move to Manchester United in recent weeks after losing his place in the first team at Stamford Bridge.
The 30-year-old was hailed as one of the players of the season in the Premier League last season.
Fabregas: I was worried about Chelsea future last season
Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas admitted he was worried about his future at the club before proving head coach Antonio Conte wrong last season.
Fabregas struggled for game time in Conte’s first campaign in charge before breaking his way in, helping Chelsea win the Premier League.
The Spain international has already started 12 league games in 2017-18 — one fewer than he managed all of last season.
But Fabregas said he was concerned about his future at the club during the start of 2016-17.
“I would be lying if said I wasn’t worried. Maybe worried is not the right word but you can imagine,” he said ahead of his side’s Champions League clash against Atletico Madrid.
“I wasn’t playing, not really part of his initial plans and at that point you can do two things. You can just give up and accept you’re not part of the team or the club in the future, or what I did: put your head down, be humble, work hard, train hard every day, show him that he’s wrong and that he can can trust me and play in this team.
“Every time I had an opportunity I gave my all, I delivered and from then on we started to create a relationship.
“Now I can say our relationship is fantastic… I understand his philosophy and must say I am very proud of this, also very happy I am where I want to be and that’s all down to belief and trust and hard work.”
Fabregas, 30, is contracted until mid-2019 at Chelsea, the club he joined from Barcelona in June 2014.
The midfielder said he was in no rush to discuss a new deal with his focus on his team.
“I’m very young. I really mean it. Especially how I play, the position, you can go for many more years, I can tell you many cases,” Fabregas said.
“At the end of the year I have a year left but let’s see what happens. I’m where I want to be, enjoying my football, playing week in and week out and I want to enjoy that.
“When the moment comes to talk I’ll be here, ready for it. It’s not the right time, it’s time to focus on Chelsea, keep playing well and deliver points.”