The Chelsea manager opens up about Tiemoue Bakayoko’s impact at Stamford Bridge following his third Premier League goal.
Antonio Conte insists he does trust Chelsea summer signing Tiemoue Bakayoko despite the midfielder’s underwhelming start to his Stamford Bridge career.
The France international moved to the defending Premier League champions in a £40m deal from Ligue 1 title holders AS Monaco in the summer transfer window.
Bakayoko was under more pressure to impress in Conte’s team following the departure of Nemanja Matic to title rivals Manchester United back in August.
The 23-year-old started the season with a knee problem and took some time to get up to speed in the Premier League having made the switch from France.
The versatile midfielder was made a scapegoat for Chelsea’s 1-0 loss to West Ham United last weekend after he was substituted at half-time at the London Stadium.
Bakayoko started Chelsea’s 3-1 win at Huddersfield Town on Tuesday night and the French midfielder’s surging run and finish helped to break the deadlock at John Smith’s Stadium.
Speaking at his post-match media conference following Chelsea’s 3-1 victory over David Wagner’s promoted team, Conte said:
“Bakayoko played a really good game. I am very happy for him.
“We are talking about a player who is 23 years old. He is adapting himself to our idea of football. Tonight I saw the best performance from Baka.
“I started to see what I ask, what I want: to find the right pass between the lines, to change sides, and to be solid and focused for the whole game. I am very pleased for him, and this type of performance will improve his confidence.
“I repeat: I am not worried about Baka. He is a young player, and now he is starting to understand he is in a club like Chelsea, a great club. I am very happy because he showed me he has the right desire and will to improve himself and try to be better.
“If I didn’t trust him, he doesn’t start tonight in an important game after a defeat and a lot of problems. To start with him shows I trust him.”
Bakayoko was part of the Monaco team that won the Ligue 1 title and reached the Champions League semi-finals in the 2016-17 season.
Chelsea are looking to win their third Premier League title in four seasons.