22 Dec Conte warns Chelsea players against transfer window distractions
Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte has told his players to retain their focus as the winter transfer window nears.
The Blues boss on Thursday said he would welcome January reinforcements to add to his squad, while some of his players have been linked with moves away from Stamford Bridge.
Defender David Luiz and the left-sided Kenedy have been the subject of speculation suggesting they may leave Chelsea.
“A difficult period is starting,” Conte said.
“In this period there are a lot of rumours. Some rumours are true, some rumours are wrong.
“We have to play every three days and it’s not right that these rumours disturb us.
“My players are very clever to be focused on this period, to play, to go game by game, don’t listen to these rumours.
“We must be ready to face this situation. The best way for me is don’t read and only to chat with the club and then to try to improve our squad, if this is possible. If.”
Chelsea play at Goodison Park on Saturday in the third game between the sides this season, with Conte set to face a third different Everton manager.
The Blues beat the Toffees 2-0 in the Premier League under Ronald Koeman in August and defeated caretaker boss David Unsworth’s side 2-1 in the Carabao Cup fourth round in October.
But Everton’s form has improved since Sam Allardyce’s appointment as manager.
“First of all Everton is a really good team, really good squad,” added Conte, whose Chelsea side have won eight, drawn one and lost one of their last 10 league games.
“In the last five games, they won four games. They’re in a good moment of form, they have great confidence.
“We must pay great attention. It’s not simple to play away against Everton. At the same time we want to try to do our best, to get three points to continue our run in the league.”
Chelsea are without suspended striker Alvaro Morata, so Eden Hazard is likely to be deployed as a ‘false nine’.
Marcos Alonso is back from a ban, but Luiz (knee) and Charly Musonda (groin) are out.