Chelsea boss defends under-fire Bakayoko

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Antonio Conte has again defended Tiémoué Bakayoko amid criticism of the Chelsea midfielder.

Bakayoko returned to the side for Tuesday’s Champions League match against Atletico Madrid and again struggled to make an impact before being substituted midway through the second half.

He was at fault for Atletico’s goal in the 1-1 draw, switching off and allowing an unmarked Saul Niguez to head in from close range.

But Blues boss Conte believes the 23-year-old simply needs time to adjust to life at Stamford Bridge.

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“Bakayoko is a young player and is working to try to improve and to try to go into our idea of football,” Conte said.

“It is important to have patience and to understand that mistakes are normal during a game, not only with Bakayoko but every player.

“My task is to continue to work to try to improve the player. He is young and has a lot of space for improvement. I am very happy with his commitment and his work.”

However, Conte was irritated by the lapse which led to Atletico’s goal.

“We conceded a goal and we have to improve because after a corner there were a lot of mistakes,” he said.