Conte defends decision to allow Courtois to take penalty

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte defended the decision to allow Thibaut Courtois to take a penalty in the shoot-out against Arsenal.

Goalkeeper Courtois surprisingly stepped up to take a spot-kick at Wembley, where Arsenal won the Community Shield after the match had finished 1-1 after 90 minutes.

Chelsea’s record signing Alvaro Morata also missed from the spot, firing his kick against the outside of the post.

But Conte insisted Courtois was a worthy choice to take a penalty.

“Courtois is one of the best players to kick a penalty,” said the Italian.

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Asked if Courtois would have been allowed to take a penalty had it been a Champions League rather than a pre-season game, Conte replied: “If you have a player who shows you during the training sessions to be one of the best then you pick him to shoot the penalty.

“Don’t forget that Morata is a forward and he did the same.”

Conte said he did not see the incident which led to Pedro being sent off for a challenge on Arsenal’s Mohamed Elneny.

However, he was unhappy with the decision to shown Willian a yellow card for diving in the first half, suggesting a penalty should have been awarded for a foul by Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin.

Conte, whose team begin the defence of their Premier League title with a home match against Burnley on Saturday, added: “Today was a tough game for both teams.

“We tried to win and to improve our physical condition because in six days we have to start the league.

“The most important thing now is to continue to work and continue to improve.”