Conte on injuries, Morata’s fitness, speculation over his future and youngsters with ‘brilliant future’

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

On Chelsea’s injuries

“David Luiz, Ross Barkley and Tiemoue Bakayoko are out and I have a couple of situations we have to check before the game.”

On whether he will rotate his squad

“We have in front of us two weeks of tough games. It is right to have a programme and a plan to face these two tough weeks in the right way, but at the same time we want to go through to the next round in the FA Cup.”

On whether youngsters will be involved

“In the past, in the Carabao Cup and also the FA Cup, I gave them the chance to play.

“We are talking about two of the best players of our academy in this case (Ampadu and Hudson-Odoi).

“With Ampadu it is not difficult to predict a brilliant future for this player and it is the same for Odoi.

“We have Sterling, there is Chalobah’s brother and Scott. They are coming with us for the game tomorrow.

“I think Chelsea’s future is very brilliant to have these young players.”

How much of a priority the FA Cup is

“When you start a season every competition is a priority. We tried to do the same in the Carabao Cup. We want to try to fight for every competition.

“There is not one priority. There are three priorities in the rest of the season.”

On recently giving the players a three-day break

“It was right to take this decision. In the past we didn’t have the possibility to rest and for this reason I decided in this way.

“We won 3-0 against West Brom but I don’t think this depended on having the three days of rest.”

On speculation over his future

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“About this topic, I think it is right to stop otherwise we stay speaking about this topic and we risk until the end of the season to speak in every press conference.

“We must be focused only on the pitch and to try to do our best – me, my staff and the players – to try to give the best satisfaction for our fans and to try to reach the maximum for this club.”

On the support Chelsea fans have given him

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“I appreciate this. My task and the task of my players is to try to put all of ourselves for this club, for these colours and for this badge.

“I think, if our fans see this, for sure they will continue to push us.”

On Alvaro Morata’s fitness

“Alvaro now is training with us regularly, every day. His physical condition is improving.

“Tomorrow I think he will play a part of the game and he will be ready for the game against Barcelona in the Champions League.

“It’s very important to have all your players available and in this case to have two number nines, Morata and Giroud, to have two options, is very important for us.

“Don’t forget that for a lot of the time we have had to try to play Hazard as a number nine.”

On whether Morata has benefitted from competition for his place now Giroud has arrived

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“I don’t know. I think Alvaro is a player with a good responsibility and a good maturity and I think the competition is good – good for team – and a great team must have competition in every position.

“For sure for us Giroud is a good option. He is very strong, a powerful player, and he can help us for the rest of the season.”

On whether Morata and Giroud could play together

“I think in the future, yes, it could happen. It could happen if we decide to play with three midfielders.

“During the game it can happen, but now I think it’s very soon to answer this question.”

On Roy Keane criticising the attitude of Chelsea’s players

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“I, in every moment, underline the commitment of the players. I think in this one year and a half we built a great mentality.

“In every training session I see great commitment, great behaviours, and in this aspect I am very happy.”

On Hull’s Ryan Mason being forced to retire

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“We are very sad about this bad news. He showed great strength to recover, to try to play again. To stop your career at such a young age, it’s a pity. It’s bad news and we are very sad.

“We wish him and his family the best for the present and the best for the future.”