Conte on Hazard, Drinkwater’s injury, Arsenal’s tactics, his team selection and rotating his squad

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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 London derby against Arsenal. Here’s some of what the Italian had to say.

Conte on the Parson’s Green explosion

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“All our thoughts are with the people affected by the issue on the Tube. For sure this incident is very dangerous and your mind goes on the situation. We have to try to think only to play the game. This is the best way.

“I remember when I was a coach of the national team and the terrorist attack. We stayed with the national team and we (Italy) had to play against Belgium. In this case it is important to continue. For sure there is a great disappointment, it is very difficult to understand why. We have to continue to show that we are stronger than them.”

On Eden Hazard

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“For sure he is improving and to have this type of patience (with his comeback) is paying off. He is very close to be totally fit and we have to continue in this way. Don’t forget I have to make decisions for the best of the team and the best for the players. His improving a lot and he is very close to being 100% fit.”

On Gary Cahill

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“He came back against Quarabag and he played very well – a good performance and I am pleased for him.”

On Arsenal

“Arsenal is one of the top six teams in England. They have a really good squad to fight for something important – the title in England.

“It is a massive game. Against Arsenal it is always a massive game. Anything can happen and we must pay great attention and play a great game against a rival.”

On his team selection for the game

“I have another another day to check the physical condition of all my players and then try to make the best decision. I have another day to reflect and then to make the best decision for Sunday.”

On Gunners boss Arsene Wenger switching to a back four against Cologne

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“Wenger rotated and rested a lot of players. Arsenal always played with a back four and then at the end of last season they changed their system. but I think they won’t change against us.”

On previous sendings-off against Arsenal

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“I hope to finish the game with 11 players because in the last two games (FA Cup final and Community Shield) we finished with 10 men.
When you start the game you try to keep always the right discipline.”

On rotating his squad

“My rotation – and the best target – is to try to make the best decision for every game and try also to win. The answer of my players in the last game was positive.

“I am pleased with the commitment and performance of my players. Now we have another tough game and I have to check the physical condition and try to make my best decision for the game.”

On Danny Drinkwater

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“He has a muscular problem in his calf and I think it is very difficult to see him before the international break.

“It’s a pity because he was starting to work and to improve his physical condition and adapt to our idea of football.

“It will be two, three, four weeks – I don’t know.”

On Alvaro Morata

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“I am happy he can score with his feet or his head, or with his chest or his back. It is important to score and to try to improve himself every day.”