Antonio Conte says his players must maintain belief in their ability at this difficult time, and the boss also thanked the Chelsea fans for their continued support of him at games...
Conte was speaking to the media at Cobham ahead of Monday night’s league fixture against West Brom. He answered questions on a number of different topics as he seeks to guide us back to winning ways after consecutive defeats.
He also provided injury updates on a number of his players, and noted there are still a couple of days to go until the game so things could change before kick-off. One player definitely out is Alvaro Morata, and Conte said he didn’t know how long the striker would be sidelined for with his back injury, admitting that makes him ‘a bit worried, because of his importance’.
He had brighter news to report on Andreas Christensen, who trained today though not with the group, and he is hoping to call on the Danish defender for the Baggies’ visit. Pedro is definitely available having hobbled off against Watford, and Olivier Giroud is also in contention to make his home debut, Conte confirmed.
"I have to say thanks to the fans, because from the start of my experience with Chelsea they try to stay behind me in every game, they continue to do this and I am very proud of this."
— Antonio Conte
He then explained to the media why he had given the players three days off after the defeat at Vicarage Road.
‘It was the only moment in the whole season to give them a bit of rest,’ Conte said.
‘In the future it will be very important for the federation to give a little bit of rest to the players. After you play a lot of games every three days, it’s very difficult for every player, especially if you go through in every competition like we have. A bit of rest for players, not only mine, would be important.
‘Now we restarted to work in the way that we know,’ Conte added. ‘I like to play football and try to dominate the game. To do this we must have personality to play with the ball. Watford was a really bad game for us. But it can happen. The most important thing is that it only happens once.
‘We have to try to stop this bad run, and try to get three points. It won’t be easy because as you know in this type of situation, confidence is not high, but we have to trust our work and trust in our football to try and get three points.
‘We are talking about players who have played at this level for many years. Honestly, I think these type of players can find the right strength to fight the fear.’
Conte stressed he and the players are focusing on themselves and not bottom-of-the-table West Brom ahead of the game, and he reiterated his belief everyone at Chelsea must ‘divide responsibility’ for results, good or bad.
Even when things were going wrong against Bournemouth and Watford the Chelsea supporters sang Conte’s name, and he was asked if that gave him a boost at this testing time.
‘For sure. I have to say thanks to the fans, because from the start of my experience with Chelsea they try to stay behind me in every game, they continue to do this and I am very proud of this.
‘They understand I am giving all of myself to this club, and I want to say thanks to the fans. They deserve the best and I try with my players to give them the best satisfaction.’