Saturday, 22 September, 2018

Stoke boss Hughes: Chelsea struggling to manage their dark arts

Hughes Chelsea missing the 'dark arts' brought by Diego Costa Hughes Chelsea missing the 'dark arts' brought by Diego Costa
Jan Ortega | 23 September, 2017, 00:30

It was a manual accident but he's fit and available for the Stoke game.

Antonio also hinted that Eden Hazard could remain in the starting line-up, after performing very well against Nottingham Forest in midweek...

Honestly, in the last game I felt a really good atmosphere in the changing room - a good link between young players and old players. The Brazilian center half had been the rock at the heart of Chelsea's defence and I think personally that Stoke will fancy their chances with the Brazilian banned. "Now we have to play three games and yes, there is the possibility to try to pick him for these games".

John Motson: "Mark Hughes has bemoaned his side's tough start, but five points from five matches is a decent return for a team that is traditionally slow out of the blocks". This is the first of three tough games in seven days.

Chelsea need a point in this game to reach 1800 Premier League points (currently 1799) - only Arsenal (1829) and Manchester United (2034) have more in the competition.

"We must pay great attention tomorrow".

But his performance against Forest confirmed he is fully fit and his presence at the bet365 Stadium for a testing meeting with Stoke will be invaluable.

He can't feature against us due to the regulations for his loan, but Kurt Zouma is someone Conte would like to catch up with on Saturday... He's got damage to his hamstring and we're hoping it won't stop him playing, but clearly at the moment he's a big risk. That's where we find ourselves and it's coincided with the fact we can't play Kurt.

'I think this is the right way as the season is very long'.

Following a question about Diego Costa, after it was announced the club and Atletico Madrid had agreed terms for the transfer of the striker, subject to the agreement of personal terms and a medical, Conte thanked the player for his contribution to the Chelsea cause.

'We want to thank Diego for the work he did at this club and we wish him all the best for the future, ' explained Conte. We are working very well and I'm pleased with the commitment and behaviour of my players.

Hazard had made just three appearances off the bench for the Blues this season after breaking his ankle at the end of last term.

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