Conte press conference: Youngster out, Batshuayi & Kenedy to play, teenage trio could feature

Charly Musonda has been ruled out of Chelsea’s EFL Cup quarter-final against Bournemouth but Michy Batshuayi will play and Kenedy is also set to be involved.

Musonda was not considered for a place in the squad for Saturday’s win against against Southampton because of a groin problem and is still unavailable.

Blues boss Antonio Conte confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that Musonda is out of Wednesday’s game and that Batshuayi is set to start despite Alvaro Morata being fully fit following a recent back problem.

Conte said: “Musonda has a little problem – a muscular problem in his groin, not from today but also before the game against Southampton. He’s out.”

Conte confirmed that David Luiz is also still unavailable and that Kenedy is one of the fringe players the Italian again plans to give a chance to impress in the EFL Cup.

Danny Drinkwater is in line to play, while Conte also suggested teenager Ethan Ampadu might also start in midfield and that academy players Dujon Sterling and Callum Hudson-Odoi “could be” involved.

Striker Hudson-Odoi has impressed at youth and Under-23 levels, as has attacking right-back Sterling, who has attracted interest from a number of clubs keen to take him on loan.

“Tomorrow I want to give an opportunity to Batshuayi,” said Conte, who confirmed that he plans to rest some of his first-choice players.

He added: “Ampadu played the last game (in the EFL Cup) against Everton and maybe he could start. I must consider the young players if they deserve this chance.

“I will continue in this way. For sure it is right to continue to give opportunities to players who have shown me they deserve this opportunity.

“Every competition is serious, but at the same time I think it is right to give opportunities to players not playing with regularity.

“It is also very difficult to ask a player to play every game. For example, N’Golo Kante has played 10 games in a row and when you do this it means you take a great risk for injuries and for a lot of things.”

Kenedey, who was sent home from Chelsea’s pre-season tour of the Far East after posting offensive comments about China on social media, will get another chance to show what he can do.

“Kenedy has tried to give everything during the training this last five months and the behaviours and commitment was perfect” said Conte.

“It is right to give him an opportunity to play in an important game. He deserves this opportunity to show me he deserves to play for Chelsea.

“I have to trust my players not only in words, but facts. I want to give this opportunity.”

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