Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte has hinted that Eden Hazard could make his first English Premier League start against Stoke City at Bet365 Stadium on Saturday after playing the entire duration of the Blues 5-1 drubbing of Nottingham Forest in the third round of the Carabao Cup, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
Conte who has led his side to three wins, a draw and a defeat so far this season is wary of the threat Stoke City poses to his side after their win over Arsenal and their draw against Manchester United.
“I am pleased for Eden, because in the last game he played, he played very well. He played with a good intensity. Now his injury is overcome and now we have to play three games. There is the possibility now to try to pick him for these games,” Conte revealed during his pre-match press conference on Friday.
“For sure, it will be a really tough game. As you said, they beat Arsenal and drew against United, it means they are a very good team.
“We must pay great attention tomorrow (Saturday). This is the first of three tough games in seven games. A good test and challenge for us.”
Conte also revealed that Tiemoue Bakayoko is fit to feature on Saturday despite his auto crash on Thursday, but he ruled out Danny Drinkwater who is still on the mend.
“All players are available for tomorrow (Saturday) apart from Drinkwater who is continuing to work to recover,” he said.
“He (Bakayoko) is fit, it was a minor accident yesterday and is available for Stoke.”
Conte also bared his mind on the exit of Diego Costa who got his wish to rejoin Atletico Madrid after being ostracized from the team.
“We won together last season and for sure we want to thank him for his efforts last season, and in the period he played for Chelsea.
“Now I am not interested to talk about the past. I think the past is not important. For every coach and player, the past stays there. We have to work for the present and future to build something important.
“About this issue, we want to thank him for what he did with this club. We wish him all the best for the future.
“We always want to work and be focused on the pitch and work. This is very important and we have to continue this. We were very focused and this is the right way if you want to build something important.”
On next week’s UEFA Champions League clash away to Atletico Madrid, Conte said: “The most important thing is to go game by game. Tomorrow it will be a really tough game and we have to be prepared for the physical and tactical aspect and be disciplined. I am pleased for the commitment of my players.
“This season will be a big challenge for us, to face each competition with our squad and play every three days. We have Stoke and two important games with Atletico and City. This type of situation will be very important for us to face in the right way. It won’t be easy to have these games very close.”