Antonio Conte discussed tomorrow’s opponents Southampton and a couple of his players during his press conference to preview our trip to St Mary’s.
The boss spoke to the media at Cobham before travelling south with his squad as we seek a first away league win since January, against a team winless in their last eight home matches.
Conte, who said he is surprised to see the Saints in the relegation zone, reported he has no fresh injury concerns, although he did provide an update on Danny Drinkwater’s situation.
‘Danny is having an unlucky season,’ Conte said.
‘He started this season with a problem in his calf, then he continued to have problems. Now he is struggling with a problem in the groin. We are talking about a good midfielder, a good player. I trust him.’
Conte echoed that sentiment when asked why Andreas Christensen was only a substitute last weekend for the draw with West Ham. The Danish defender had started seven straight games prior to that.
‘We are talking about a young player. For him it is the first season playing at this level. Playing at this level means you lose a lot of mental energy. It could be that he is a bit tired in this respect.
‘At the same time, to have the possibility to play Gary Cahill is right. We are talking about an important player not only for Chelsea, but also for the national team. I have this opportunity to make rotations, especially in the defensive line. When I see some situations, I try to change something.
‘For sure Christensen can contribute in the last few weeks of the season. I have four central defenders at the moment. From now until the end I will make rotations and give everyone the possibility to play.’
Conte was adamant our first meeting with Southampton this month is, right now, the more important of the two we play against the Saints in quick succession. We have an FA Cup tie to look forward to with them next weekend, but it is league points that are up for grabs tomorrow.
The boss was also asked about rumours regarding his own future.
‘My job is to work with these players and finish the season as strongly as possible. There is always speculation around our position, not only for me but for a lot of coaches. It’s our job. For me, the most important thing is to be focused on Chelsea and finish in the best possible way.
‘We want to improve our position. It’s difficult and we know that, but at the same time we have to give everything to get points and then to see what happens at the end of the season. It will be very difficult to reduce this gap, but we must try to do this until the end of the season.’