Conte on transfers, Hazard, Llorente, Morata, Everton and Kenedy’s future

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Chelsea boss Antonio Conte was asked about a number of issues at a news conference on Friday ahead of Sunday’s game with Everton. Here’s some of what the Italian had to say.

Injury latest

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“I think that the only player that is not fully fit is [Eden] Hazard. He is improving. Today (Friday) he is playing in the Under-23s against Everton but he’s not fully fit. All the other players are available.”

On Hazard’s call-up for Belgium

“I knew the news just 20 minutes ago. I’m a bit surprised about this decision. If Hazard is ready, why is he not playing with us? I was a coach of a national team, with Italy, and I respect the decision of the other coach [Roberto Martinez].”

On Diego Costa

Chelsea striker Diego Costa
“The same, no news.”

On Chelsea’s transfer activity

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“The club is trying to strengthen our squad. They are working very hard to do this. The club knows very well my opinions, my ideas.

“My task is to be focused on the pitch and to try, every day, to improve my team and my players.

“We have to continue to work, in every case. If the club is very good in the transfer market to get new players, I will be very happy. Otherwise, I have to continue to work with my players and I am happy to work with these players I have.”

On whether he wants Swansea’s Fernando Llorente

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“I don’t like to speak about players of the other teams, I think it’s a lack of respect for my players and also the teams these players are playing for.”

On Everton

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“[Manager Ronald] Koeman built a really strong team. But also last season, Everton was a strong team. I think this season they have improved a lot. We must pay great attention on Sunday because this type of game will be difficult for us. But it’s very important, after a really good win against Tottenham, to continue in this way.”

On the win over Tottenham

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“We sent a really good message to us, because in an emergency situation, a difficult situation, we were able to win against a really strong team like Tottenham.

“Don’t forget, last season, after 13 wins in a row we lost 2-0 against Tottenham. This season, we won 2-1. We suffered, but it’s normal to suffer when you play against this type of team.

“We must be very happy for the spirit, for the desire that we showed.”

On Alvaro Morata and Tiemoue Bakayoko

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“Morata is improving a lot, [both in] his physical condition and also to adapt himself to this idea of football.

“Bakayoko is doing the same – he is working with us for 10 days. To go into an idea of football, to adapt yourself into a style of football is not simple because you have to understand movement, you have to understand when you have to attack the space, whether you stay to receive the ball, there are many situations to understand.”

On the Champions League draw

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“It’s a tough group but when you play these type of competitions you must be prepared to play strong teams, the best in Europe.

“In this moment, it’s very difficult to tell if it’s a good group or a bad group. It’s very important to play very well and try to do our best.

“[Qarabag is] a long trip for sure. I went with the national team against Azerbaijan for the qualification [for Euro 2016] and I remember our trip was very long. But we have to face this situation.”

On coping with fixture congestion in September

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“I hope after the international break to have the whole team and also to have the possibility to start to think about Hazard.

“Then, we are going to play seven games in a month and I need to rotate the players because if someone is thinking that I can use only 11 players or 13 players, it’s impossible.”

On Wayne Rooney’s retirement from international football

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“It’s impossible for another person to say [if] he is right or he is wrong, because you know your body, you know your desire, your will to continue to play 60, 65, 70 games in a year. Only you know this.”

On Kenedy’s future

“For now it’s important to wait because we are in the transfer market to try to improve the squad. If we are in the market it means that we need players, not to sell them.”