Conte on Luiz, Batshuayi, Drogba, the transfer window and expecting to ‘suffer’ against Southampton

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Chelsea boss Antonio Conte spoke about a number of issues at a media conference ahead of the game against Southampton. Here’s some of what the Italian had to say.

Conte on Southampton

“I can tell for sure that the game will be very difficult for us because Southampton is a really good team. They have a lot of good players. The players are very fast and they can play well on the counter attack.

“My expectation is to suffer. I have this sensation. We must pay great attention.

“It won’t be easy to win the game – as Manchester City know very well, because they played against them and solved the situation only in the 96th minute.”

On playing without an out-and-out striker

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“We played this way last season and I think this is a good option because you don’t give a point of reference to your opponent.

“You can play, with your three players, very good technically and also very fast and very good one-v-one – creative players.

“At the same time, it is very important to have a good balance. If our three strikers want to sacrifice without the ball to give us the right balance then, yes, I think this could be a good option for the present and for the future.

“You have to have a balance or you risk losing the game, risk a counter-attack, and I don’t want this. I think my players know very well what I want.”

On Charly Musonda’s future

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“I’m happy for him. It was right to sign a new contract and the club I think took the right decision and the player the same. For his future, the club and the player will take the right decision.”

On Alvaro Morata

“He’s better. He has trained with us. He had this pain in his back but he is in contention for the game.”

On Morata watching DVDs of Didier Drogba

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“They are two different players with different characteristics. Drogba was a wonderful striker. He was more powerful than Alvaro but Alvaro don’t forget has a lot of time for improvement, is a technical player, and I see a great future for Alvaro.”

On the January transfer window

“I think that it’s right to have a meeting with the club about the transfer market in January.

“But as you know very well, I stay here to work – I am a coach and for the transfer market is the club and you have to ask the club.

“I can give my opinion to my club but the last word is from the club and I have to respect every decision of the club. This must be very clear.”

On Manchester City

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“For sure Manchester City is not a surprise for me and maybe also for you, because at the start of the season all the people said this league was for two contenders; the two Manchesters.

“This is a great team but was a great team also last season. Then during the transfer market they reached their first targets and created an important team.

“We must pay great attention and not only in England, because Manchester City is building a strong team to lead in Europe or in the world.

“Manchester City is a really good team to have these 15 wins in a row. I think also you must also be lucky, because in many games they won in the last minutes.

“When you have this type of run you must also be a bit lucky, but they are deserving this and we must have respect.”

On David Luiz

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“David has a big inflammation in his knee and we have tried to sort this situation with the doctor and it’s important to assess the situation day by day and to try to solve this problem.

“I don’t know when he will be able to come back with us, but with the medical department we are trying to sort this situation.

“The last days he was working in the pool and today I saw him on the pitch trying to run a bit, but very slow. This is a serious problem but we hope to sort this as soon as possible.

“It is always frustrating when you don’t play, especially when you have an injury.

“For sure there is a lot of frustration for the injury. I understand because I was a player and when I was injured my feeling was very sad.

“You want to be available for training sessions and to be in contention for competition, but injury is part of the job.”

On leaving out Michy Batshuayi

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“He is part of my squad. Don’t forget he played in the Community Shield and we started the season with him. I try to make the best decision for the team.

“He was out for three weeks. He had a problem with his ankle. Then he struggled to find the right physical condition. Now he is starting to stay in good form.”