Chelsea will once again be without captain John Terry for Saturday’s trip to Hull City in the Premier League.
Veteran centre-back Terry returned to training this week, but has failed to overcome the effects of the ankle injury he sustained during the 2-2 draw at Swansea City earlier this month.
Chelsea have lost both their league matches in his absence, with poor defending staining reverses against Liverpool and Arsenal and head coach Antonio Conte is now targeting a comeback for Terry after the international break.
“No he isn’t available because he wasn’t recovered from his injury of his ankle,” Conte told a pre-match news conference.
“I think we can see him after the international break.
“We are also without [Jon Obi] Mikel because of a small problem. The others, we have all the players available.”
Chelsea’s failure to win a Premier League match during September prompted reports of a rift between Conte and owner Roman Abramovich but the former Juventus and Italy boss revealed he is enjoying regular and frank conversations with the Russian billionaire.
“I think good communication is important always, with all the people to be very clear on all aspects,” he said. “It is important this, to be very clear with our players, your staff and the owner.
“Mr Abramovich has a great passion for football. To talk with him about football is very interesting, to explain about my idea of football.
“To have a confrontation is very interesting, this situation – I like this. In every situation, if you are very clear it is okay always.”
Conte was speaking after Cesar Azpilicueta, Cesc Fabregas and Pedro were all left out of Julen Lopetegui’s Spain squad for next month’s World Cup qualifiers against Italy and Albania.
The former Azzurri boss believes the trio can work their way back into their national setup by redoubling efforts at Stamford Bridge.
“Azpi, Cesc and Pedro, they are three important players for Chelsea,” he added. “We are working very hard.
“I am pleased for their commitment, for their attitude. This is important.
“I think this can be an opportunity to work harder and to try to be in the squad of Spain, to refine.
“We are talking about three great players.”