Antonio Conte says the last couple of weeks have been significant for Alvaro Morata, and reports the striker is now in top shape as we approach the closing weeks of the campaign...
Injury meant Morata missed a few weeks earlier in 2018 but he has been eased back into selection by Conte since returning, and started and scored his first goal of the year against Leicester a fortnight ago.
Conte has spoken about the work he has put in on the training ground since then as he vies to get back to his best.
‘I saw him playing very well in this period,’ Conte said. ‘He needed to rest, and then to have hard sessions of work to find the best physical condition to prepare himself for the final weeks of the season.
‘He had this problem in his back. It was a serious problem because I didn’t know how long his recovery it would take: one day, one month, the whole season. He solved the problem; our medical department was very good to get him in the best physical condition to solve this problem.
‘At the start of this period, he continued to feel a bit of pain in his back, but now he is ready. He is totally fit.’
For tomorrow’s game against Tottenham, Conte will have to choose between Morata or Olivier Giroud if he decides to select a striker to lead the line. The Frenchman has, unlike Morata, been on international duty over the break, and he netted against Colombia in Paris last week to become his country’s fifth all-time leading scorer.
‘Olivier is an international player with great experience. For sure they are two different players, and I am happy to have the possibility to pick one solution or another solution.
‘Now we have two strong possibilities and I have to make the best decision. For sure when a striker is not scoring the confidence can go down. Goals are of vital importance.
‘I am very happy in the last game Alvaro scored an important goal, for us and for him, and now I am waiting for a great end to the season for Alvaro, Olivier and especially the team.’