Conte on Luiz’s future, injury latest, Benitez, chasing Man City and whether players might be sold

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

On being charged with misconduct by the FA

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“It’s right to accept it and pay the fine. If the referee took this decision I have to respect it and pay this fine.

“I want the referee to learn something about this because Swansea were wasting time and the referee has to protect the team that wants to play football and try to win the game.

“I was angry because I said twice to the fourth official: ‘Look, they are wasting time’. But I shouted and showed dissent. I accept the decision of the referee.”

On resting the likes of Cesar Azpilicueta against Swansea

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“In this period it is very important to have rotation and to give a rest to all the players.

“I think it was a positive because we won the game and I got a good answer from all my players.

“When a period is so busy it is important to have rotation. I trust my players and believe in my players and want to give them the chance to show me that they deserve to pay.”

On David Luiz’s continued absence

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“Luiz and Musonda are out. Batshuayi and Kenedy have just started to work with us again to find the best physical condition.

“Now he (Luiz) is having treatment on his knee. It’s not simple to understand how much longer this injury will be for. The doctor is doing his best to recover him very soon.”

On reports Luiz is set to join Real Madrid

“I must be honest, I don’t read that. I don’t have time to read because we are playing every three days and for this reason my focus is on the pitch to prepare the right way.

“There is speculation in this period. We passed from (stories about) my ‘sacking’ to Real Madrid and Luiz.”

On reports he does not get on with Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez

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“It is not true. Rafa Benitez did a great job in his time with Napoli. When I was coach of the national team and I went to watch a training session of Napoli to talk to him and stay with him. He’s a good manager. He won a lot in his career and I have a great respect for him.”

On what kind of reception ex-Chelsea interim boss Benitez should get

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“Rafa in his spell at Chelsea did well. To win the Europa League is not simple. It’s right always to give respect.”

On trying to catch Manchester City

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“It’s right to believe that we can catch them up. It’s the right mentality because in every game we must have the right desire and will to fight and to try to catch them up, but in this moment it is very difficult. We have to look at ourselves and go game by game.”

On whether departures are likely during the January transfer window

“It is very early to talk about this topic. It’s not right in early December. Now it’s very important to focus and go game by game, put ourselves for Chelsea and try to do our best. When it will be the moment for the transfer market we can start to speak about this.”