Sport

Antonio Conte thanks Diego Costa for Chelsea contribution

Antonio Conte thanks Diego Costa for Chelsea contribution

With Chelsea facing the prospect of three games in seven days, Conte knows he will have to rotate his squad and believes he is now able to call on Hazard from the start, rather than manage him carefully from the bench.

The former Monaco midfielder was involved in a vehicle crash outside of Chelsea's training ground on Thursday but luckily did not suffer any injuries and is fit to play, according to Conte. Don't forget, we won together last season.

Kevin Wimmer is nursing a hamstring strain and could be one of four senior defenders unavailable for Stoke.

Turning his attention towards our trip to the bet365Stadium, where the Blues won 2-1 last season, Conte anticipates a tricky test, and with Hazard having completed the full game against Nottingham Forest in midweek, the Belgian could potentially start.

He added: "We have to play against Stoke then on Wednesday another really important game for us against Atletico Madrid".

Both Musonda and Kenedy have found opportunities hard to come by at Stamford Bridge, and, like numerous club's youngsters, have spent some time out on loan.

Stoke are a team that is hard to plan for under the best of circumstances, but Antonio Conte has to consider Chelsea's two big matches that follow in short order. "A good test and challenge for us". "Beat Arsenal, drew with Manchester United and we've got to get back to that level of performance to do anything against Chelsea".

"If you did well in the past, it's OK, but we have to work for the present and the future to build something important for this club".

"I think that is the right way because the season is very long and for sure I have to give opportunities to these players to show they are learning and are ready to help us".

Chelsea come up against Stoke who have recently held Manchester United at the Britannia and will be looking to do the same for Chelsea.

Hughes admits he was a fan of Costa, who is set to leave Chelsea after months of acrimony to rejoin Atletico Madrid.

Baba Rahman remains at Chelsea but isn't part of the club's Premier League or European squad due to a knee injury.

That leaves Bruno Martins Indi as the only first-team centre-back for the visit of the defending Premier League champions to the bet365 Stadium.