Antonio Conte does not want unhappy players lowering team morale at Chelsea

Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte does not want unhappy players bringing down the morale of the squad.

And the Italian would consider allowing any players worried that their lack of first-team action is jeopardising their World Cup hopes to leave.

Brazil defender David Luiz and Belgium striker Michy Batshuayi are the players most likely to be concerned over their chances of competing at Russia 2018 due to being out of favour at Chelsea.

Antonio Conte does not want unhappy players lowering team morale at Chelsea PLZ Soccer
David Luiz has seen his playing time limited this season (Steven Paston/PA)

“I understand if some players are not playing with regularity and want to play with regularity,” Conte said.

“I will understand if someone is worried about the World Cup. I prefer to have players very happy to stay here than to have players that are unhappy. Because when you are unhappy you transfer this to the other players, to me, to my staff and I don’t like this. I’d like to avoid this situation.”

Conte, though, says Chelsea must sign players before any leave in this month’s winter transfer window.

“Our squad is not big. For this reason I think it’s impossible to send on loan one player or to sell one player, if we don’t take another player,” Conte added.

Chelsea play at Arsenal on Wednesday bidding for a victory to return to second place in the Premier League table, ahead of Manchester United.

Conte sidestepped questions on transfers, with Luiz still the subject of speculation after playing once since October.

Antonio Conte does not want unhappy players lowering team morale at Chelsea PLZ Soccer
Andreas Christensen has made himself a first choice at Chelsea (Adam Davy/PA)

Luiz could return in the FA Cup at Norwich on Saturday following a knee injury, but Andreas Christensen is now first choice in the centre of the three-man defence.

Conte would not be drawn on whether Luiz would stay at Chelsea by the closure of the transfer window, speaking generally, rather than specifically.

The Blues boss says his participation on transfers is limited to making suggestions to director Marina Granovskaia, who leads on recruitment. He will not be glued to his phone for the next month.

He said: “I change the number. I’m only a coach. My main task is to work on the pitch with my players. If the club ask me some names I try to do this but then it’s the club, it’s the club that decides the name, the investment, which is the best player for the team.”

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