Conte on his future, Zaha, Barkley’s fitness, his strikers and ‘rubbish’ criticism of his tactics

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

On Chelsea’s Injuries

“David Luiz is injured and also Barkley and then I have to to check a couple of situations to make the decisions for tomorrow’s game. It is better to keep secret the situations.

“Before the game against Manchester City I said that with Barkley we must have great patience because after a bad injury and surgery in the muscle it is not simple to be out for seven months and to recover very quickly. We must try to wait for the right moment. We must be patient.”

On whether he will play with a striker against Palace

“For sure we have this option to play with Giroud or Morata as number nine. It is an important game. We want three points. We will see tomorrow which is my final decision.

“I trust and for sure I am working with both to bring them in the best physical form and condition. Morata is coming from a strange injury in his back. He was, for a long time, out.

“Giroud is working very well. He is working every day and is in good physical condition. I trust a lot in all my players.”

On Palace

“They lost the past couple of games, but they deserved more against Tottenham and Man United when they lost at the end. We must pay great attention and have a good performance. We are playing against a really good team with talented players, but for sure we need three points.”

On the threat of Palace’s Wilfried Zaha

“When we lost away he scored and he created a lot of problems. But it is not only Zaha, Andros Townsend is a really good player and there is Benteke and there are many good players in this squad. To see them in this position in the table is strange.”

On whether confidence has been affected by recent results

“Our confidence, for sure when you lose many games in a row, it is not simple. We have to regret the games against Bournemouth, Watford and United. When you pay against City there is possibility to lose the game.

“But our confidence is normal. We are are working very well and tomorrow we will see the performance.”

On whether next week’s game against Barcelona will be in his thoughts

“The most important thing is to go game by game and not look too far forward. For the players, the club, the players and fans it is important to try to win the game tomorrow. Don’t forget we have a target in the league to try to take a place in the Champions League. After the game we will start to think about the Champions League.

“The teams ahead of us are going with a great velocity. For this reason it is important not to drop points. We will try in the future to exploit the games that we have to play at home.”

On John Terry visiting the training ground

“For John, Chelsea is his home and he can come when he wants. The doors are always open for him, for players that write the history of this club. It is always a pleasure to see him and to have a chat. It is right also for the players to see again the old captain.

“John Terry’s role last season was incredible. He didn’t play a lot of games but despite this his commitment was incredible. He gave me a lot in the changing room. Also to use the right words in the right moment.

“For sure John Terry we are talking about a player with great experience. It was a big loss. I tried to keep him for another season but he wanted to play and I understood this. I wish him the best for him and his family.”

On Tiemoue Bakayoko’s continued absence

“If I have to see a positive aspect about his injury, he had a lot of time (to analyse) the bad performance against Watford. Now he is training with us from one week. His physical condition is not bad but don’t forget that Baka is a really young player.

“This season we are paying for a bit for a lack of experience of many players but, about Baka, he has the right personality to become an important player for Chelsea – I hope in the present but for sure in the future.

“We are working with him like the same way we are working with the strikers, with Christensen, like with all the players.

“Don’t forget in the squad there are four midfielders. I have to trust – I must trust – in my players.”

On being linked with Paris St-Germain

“I am starting to have this thought that it is very strange from the start of the season to read and to listen to a lot of news about my job and the club. I have already answered this question and nothing has changed.”

On criticism of him after the defeat at City

“I think this is part of our job. Sometimes the critics are constructive. Sometimes they are rubbish. We must have respect for the job of the other, but at the end pundits are pundits and managers are managers.”