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Costa competition benefitting Batshuayi, says Conte

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte believes striker Michy Batshuayi is benefitting from working alongside Diego Costa.

An impressive return to form for Spain striker Costa has restricted close-season signing Batshuayi to a diet of substitute appearances in the Premier League.

Wednesday’s EFL Cup derby at West Ham gives the Belgium international a chance to stake his claim, with Conte insisting he is satisfied with the 23-year-old’s work since joining from Marseille.

“The confidence for Michy must be high because he is a young player,” Conte told a pre-match media conference.

“For me he has shown great improvement. He has great ability and the technical aspect and the physical aspect. He can grow a lot and is working very well.

“I have full confidence in him and I am sure that if Michy plays [against West Ham] he will play a good game.

“For sure [he can learn from Costa] because when you are in a great team and you have the possibility to work every day with a great player and learn a lot of things it is positive for him.

“Michy has great potential in the physical and technical aspect and we trust a lot in him. He must continue to work and to exploit the moment when he plays.”

As before Sunday’s 4-0 romp against Manchester United, Conte confirmed captain John Terry is fit for his first action since sustaining a foot injury against Swansea City on September 11.

Branislav Ivanovic and Kurt Zouma are building fitness after the latter played 45 minutes for Chelsea’s Under-23 side on Monday having recovered from a serious knee injury, although the match comes too soon for Cesc Fabregas (thigh).

“For Ivanovic, he is better because he started to train with us from yesterday, also today. He needs a bit of time to find the right shape to come back in,” Conte said.

“For Cesc, he is still not well. We must wait because he had a muscular problem and we are waiting. We must be patient because the muscular problem is with his thigh. We hope to see him soon with the team and in a training session.

“I’m pleased because Zouma is a young player but is a good player. I hope to see him very, very soon – very soon for me is when we start the training session after West Ham.

“I hope he can work with us then. I am very happy that yesterday he played with the Under-23s. He had a good reaction in a physical aspect after the game.”

Conte added that Brazil winger Willian could return having been granted compassionate leave following the death of his mother.

“Willian is at a [better] moment now… before the moment wasn’t good but now, he is a fantastic man, we love him,” he said. “We need him as a fantastic man and a fantastic player.”

Tue 25 Oct, 2016
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