Conte on Costa, youngsters, Stoke, Zouma and Chelsea’s ‘big challenge’

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Chelsea boss Antonio Conte was asked about a number of issues at a news conference on Friday ahead of this weekend’s game against Stoke City. Here’s some of what the Italian had to say.

Conte on Tiemoue Bakayoko’s car accident

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“He’s fit. It was a minor accident and he is fit and available the Stoke game.”

On Eden Hazard

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“I am pleased for Eden because I think in the last game he played very well (against Nottingham Forest). He played with good intensity and I think now his injury is overcome.

“Now we have to play three games and there is the possibility to pick him for these games.”

On Diego Costa

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“I am not interested in talking about the past. The past is not important. For every single coach and player the past stays there and we have to look for the present and the future.

“We want to thank him for what he did with this club. We wish him all the best for the future.”

On Michy Batshuayi

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“Last season he didn’t play a lot but after one year I think he has worked very hard to be prepared more to face this league and this challenge with Chelsea. For sure he will have the right chance to help us.”

On Kenedy and Charly Musonda

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“We have been working with Charly and Kenedy from last season in January.

“I was pleased to see this type of performance (against Forest) from Charly and Kenedy and for sure these are two players with good prospects.

“I think they will stay with us and if they stay in our squad it means we trust them and they have to continue in this way.

“In the last game I felt a good atmosphere in the changing room – a good link between young players and old players.

“I think that is the right way because the season is very long and for sure I have to give opportunities to these players to show they are learning and are ready to help us.”

On Stoke

“For sure it will be a really tough game. They beat Arsenal and drew against Manchester United, it means they are a very good team. We must pay great attention.”

On Kurt Zouma

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“The best way for him was to send him on loan and play regularly.

“He renewed his contract with Chelsea for many years – a long contract – and this shows that we trust him. But it was important to send him on loan and to play regularly.

“For Kurt this season it is very important to play after a really bad injury, not a simple injury – he broke his leg in a bad way. It was not a simple cruciate ligament.

“He is playing very well and it is a pleasure for me to see him playing regularly. This way he can improve and can find the best fit. I hope to see him and say hello.”

On playing three games in eight days

“This season it will be a big challenge for us, to face each competition with our squad and try to play every three days.

“We have Stoke and two really important games with Atletico and against Manchester City.

“This type of situation will be very important for us to face this type of situation in the right way. It won’t be easy to have these games, so strong and tough games, very close.”