ANTONIO CONTE admits it’s unlikely that deadline day signing Olivier Giroud will start Monday’s trip to Watford.
Chelsea splashed out £18m to sign Giroud from London rivals Arsenal, handing him an 18-month contract at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues take on Watford at Vicarage Road on Monday looking to bounce back from Wednesday’s woeful 3-0 home defeat to Bournemouth.
But Conte does not expect Giroud to be ready to start, with Eden Hazard likely to fill in for crocked first-choice striker Alvaro Morata.
He said: “We are starting to work with him but we have to check his physical condition. It is difficult to see him start.
“Giroud is a player with a lot of experience. He is 31, we are not talking about a young player and for this reason our expectation is to help us and I asked the club for this type of the player and the club gave me this.
“As you know very well as I repeated the same concept during the market, I gave my opinion to the club and they made the best decision.
“In every case I would be happy. Now I am lucky that the market has finished and for this reason our focus must be on the pitch.”
About Emerson Palmieri
He’s a young player without a great international experience. He played only last season with Roma, and played very well.
“Then he had a bad injury. Now he stays with us. For sure, he’s an option to Marcos Alonso. I think that’s good for us, and he has to recover very well. But whoever deserves to play – this is our rule in the changing-room – he plays. If a player deserves to play, he does. It’s not his reputation. It’s how he does in training.”
On their defeat to Bournemouth, Conte said: “The lesson is always the same, there is no easy game in this league. We knew this, but Bournemouth played a good game.
“For many reasons we didn’t perform well. I spoke during the press conference the day before about preparing the game in a short time. I think we tried to do everything to get three points.”
Conte has also suggested that Chelsea only claiming a top four finish this season would constitute a successful campaign despite their title win last term.
He said: “We have to try to do our best in every situation.
“We reached the semi-final of the Carabao Cup, there is the FA Cup and have to play the game in the next round and in the Champions League we have to face maybe the best team in this moment in Europe.
“In the league if you are able to reach a place in the Champions League this would be a great success but it will be very difficult.”