Chelsea are confident that record signing Alvaro Morata will be ready to return to action for the club’s trip to Crystal Palace after the international break – despite concerns over a hamstring injury that forced him off against Manchester City.
Morata started Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to the league leaders, but was withdrawn before half time after the player recognised the problem. Morata was a doubt before the game, but manager Antonio Conte has revealed that he decided he needed to risk his number nine.
The Mail report that the 24-year-old will miss one of Spain’s two upcoming World Cup qualifiers, but that it’s expected he’ll recover in time to possibly participate in the second game – with fingers crossed that he’ll return to Chelsea fully fit.
But in quotes carried by the Star, Conte revealed the reason behind his decision to start Morata in spite of pre-game concerns.
He said: “To play three games in seven days is not simple, above all for our wing backs. (Victor) Moses played two whole games against Stoke and Atletico. Marcos Alonso played one and a half games, because against Stoke I changed him.
“Then you have to try to not put your players in difficulty and not to risk this type of player, because Moses for us is an important player, and to play three games in only seven days, it means that you risk.
“With Morata it was the same, but I made the decision to risk Morata in this game, because imagine if I decided to put Morata on the bench?”
Conte had said directly after the defeat to City that he didn’t anticipate a serious issue, and claimed that the player wished to come off himself: “I don’t think it’s a serious problem because he stopped before it will become a serious injury.
“He said to me, ‘I prefer to stop myself otherwise I risk a bad injury’. The doctor now in the next days has to check the situation.”