Antonio Conte will be boosted by the return of Eden Hazard as Chelsea host Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on Saturday as the Premier League returns.
Chelsea have the opportunity of going 13 points clear atop the Premier League table as they host Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. However, they face a Palace side that has undergone a makeover under Big Sam, who has converted the loose cannon defence into a warhorse.
Antonio Conte was at his usual calming best in the pre-match conference ahead of the tie. But, he did confirm that John Terry is back to full fitness and is set to be a part of the matchday squad. The Italian also confirmed that Eden Hazard, who had missed out the Stoke fixture earlier due to an injury, is fit and set to start.
Conte was asked as to the future of both John Terry and Eden Hazard and calmly responded that these things should be discussed in the right time, which has not come as of yet. But, he did expand on the speculation linking Hazard with a move to Spain in the summer.
“Is that true? I don’t know. I’m repeating always the same thing, that now it’s important for my players to focus on the present and not look too far forward, because it’s very dangerous. The only thing I can say is that Eden is a Chelsea player, we are happy with him and he is happy with us. I don’t see a problem with him.”
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Conte also took time to admire the opposition stating that he did not know how a team of Crystal Palace’s caliber was doing so further down the table and that their recent form is a cause for worry for the Chelsea side.
The Italian also said that he expects a tough game at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, because of the opposition combined with the fact that the players have come back from the international break.
“Tomorrow will be a very difficult game for us for many reasons. After the international break it’s not easy. Some came back with some problems. If you ask me why they are in this position, I don’t know. It’s very strange. When you have this team with these great players it can happen, like with Chelsea last season.”
“They have won the last three games; in the last six games they are sixth in the table. We have to pay great attention.”
The game is of paramount importance for Crystal Palace, as a positive result here could further cement their status of a mid-table team than a team battling for survival. The game is scheduled to take place at Stamford Bridge on Saturday at 1930 IST.