Conte: Listening up

Antonio Conte will speak to N’Golo Kante before deciding whether to bring him back into the team against Roma tomorrow night.

The French midfielder, such an integral part in our success since joining last year, has been out since picking up a hamstring injury during the international break earlier this month. He returned to training before the Bournemouth game, where he was not involved, and has now travelled to the Italian capital. That was where Conte addressed the media and provided an update on the 26-year-old.

‘Kante has trained with us,’ he said. ‘It’s very important in this moment to speak with the player, and his sensation is very important.

‘I was a player and I know very well after an injury, above all a muscular problem, a bad injury, it’s very important to listen to the player, to find out his sensation and then make the best decision for him and the team.

‘For sure tomorrow we try to make the best decision.’

Conte later assessed the state of Group C as a whole, which we currently lead by two points ahead of tomorrow night’s fixture at the Stadio Olimpico, as well as his team’s current form.

‘Our group is a tough group with Atletico Madrid and Roma, two really group teams. To stay at the top of this group is really important.

‘We are trying to face all competitions this season. We went through to the next round of the Carabao Cup, we won the last two games in the Premier League.

‘Roma are in a good moment of form. It’s important for us to overcome this difficult period. We are recovering important players. You know how important it is for me to have all the players available.’

One of those available for selection is Alvaro Morata, who returns to the country where he excelled for Juventus as a multiple Serie A winner and a Champions League finalist. It was also in the stadium we play in tomorrow that he netted a Coppa Italia final winning goal against AC Milan in 2016, and Conte reiterated what his striker had said a little earlier tonight about life at Stamford Bridge.

‘Alvaro is a good person and he is enjoying his time in London and playing for Chelsea, a great team. I know very well where he is living with his wife, it was the same building I lived last season: a lovely place, it’s not so far from the training ground.

‘Every time I have spoken with him he has told me he is very happy for this fantastic experience for him, and for his wife.

‘Personally last season I was alone without my family,’ Conte added. ‘When you stay abroad and work with a lot of pressure, it’s good to have your family with you. This season I solved this problem. My family stay with me, I am enjoying my time in Cobham, I am enjoying London and I am enjoying this league.

‘It’s a fantastic experience for Alvaro and for me, and for every single player that decides to have this fantastic experience in a really tough league.’