Date: 4th December 2017 at 11:51pm
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Antonio Conte has been speaking ahead of Chelsea’s Champions League clash with Atletico Madrid. Diego Simeone brings his team to Stamford Bridge needing a win to have any chance of qualification into the knockout phase of the competition. Even then, they`d need Roma to mess up badly against Qarabag.

First off, Conte confirmed that David Luiz will miss the game owing to an ongoing knee problem. Whether Luiz actually has a problem remains to be seen, January`s transfer window may give a better indication. Conte was then asked how Alvaro Morata was getting along, following recent comments about his happiness,

`’Alvaro is very happy to play for Chelsea, and I am very happy to have a player like him,` Conte said. For Alvaro it is the first season to play with regularity, and he is showing he is a great striker.`

`For me, he has a lot of room for improvement and to become one of the best strikers in the world. I repeat: I am very happy that Morata is in our team.`


Another of Chelsea`s Spanish contingent also attracted questions for the Chelsea boss. Cesc Fabregas has, this season, become an automatic pick for Conte, those in the media wanted to know how the turnaround came about.

`Cesc at the start of the last season didn`t play a lot, but I was very happy because through his work, he tried to change my mind, and it happened.`

`In the second part of the last season he started to play with regularity, and he was very important for us to win the title last season. This season he continued to work very hard. He showed me great commitment and great behaviour.`

`The coach has to make the best decision for the team, because the coach wants to win in the same way as the players and fans do. I tried to make the best decision. This season he is playing with regularity. He is performing well and I hope he can continue like this for a long time.`

Conte`s belief is, that Fabregas has five of football left to play in his career. At 30 though, it`s questionable as to whether those five years will be at Chelsea, time will literally tell.

Conte recognised that Madrid will want to win in London, but then again, so will he. Whether Chelsea come in first or second place ultimately won`t make much difference, something Conte was also aware of,

`We want to play a big game and try to win, that`s normal. If you see the other groups, you have the same risk if you arrive first or second. If you arrive first you can draw Real Madrid or Bayern Munich or Juventus. We have to try to do our best tomorrow, and then we will see what happens in the draw.`

Whatever the outcome tomorrow, Chelsea play safe in the knowledge that their progress to the last sixteen is assured, something we can all be grateful for.

 
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