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Boost for Conte as in-form Costa is passed fit

Chelsea forward Diego Costa has been passed fit to face Middlesbrough as Antonio Conte’s men search for a sixth consecutive Premier League victory.

The Blues’ fine form continued prior to the international break with a 5-0 home win against Everton – a match in which the striker scored – and they travel to play Boro on Sunday.

Conte has a full squad of players to choose from, with Costa – the Premier League’s top goalscorer – fit despite suffering a groin injury which kept him out of Spain’s matches against Macedonia and England.

“I have all the players available and they are in good form,” the Chelsea boss said at his pre-match media conference.

“Diego Costa had a bit of an injury after the Everton game, but he started to train with us on Wednesday. 

“His physical condition is good but there is also tomorrow to see the situation.

“At the moment, he can play. Eden Hazard is fully fit too. He recovered very well.”

Conte was speaking after he and Hazard were named manager and player of the month respectively for October.

The Italian said: “I am pleased for Eden because he is playing fantastic football and working very well in training. He is a great player.

“If we want to compare Eden with the top players, it’s not the right moment. He has the potential to do great things in his career but it’s important now that he is putting his best into the team, and it’s great for us.”

Conte insisted Chelsea captain John Terry is suited to his 3-4-3 system despite having not started the veteran in the Premier League since September 11.

He also stressed he is refusing to rush Kurt Zouma, who has not played for the first team since February, which was when he suffered a serious knee injury.

Conte said: “John is in good shape. He can play in this formation, he can play easily.

“It’s good to have another quality player available in Kurt Zouma. I am happy to have this availability of the central defenders.

“It’s important Kurt is with us and he is in good form but it is normal that when you arrive after a bad injury you need a bit of time to recover your best form.

“That’s why we prefer Kurt to play with the Under-23s in this moment. It’s important to have game time.”

Fri 18 Nov, 2016
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