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Boost for Chelsea as fit-again Morata could feature in Roma clash

Just recovered from injury, striker Alvaro Morata is available for his side’s Champions League meeting tomorrow.

Alvaro Morata training for Chelsea.
Alvaro Morata training for Chelsea.

ALVARO MORATA COULD return from injury when Chelsea face Roma in the Champions League, Antonio Conte has revealed.

The club’s record signing picked up a hamstring strain in the first half of a 1-0 defeat at home to Manchester City before the international break.

Just over two weeks ago, it was believed that he’d miss over a month of football but it appears he’s made a quick recovery.

Upon return from the break, the striker was not involved as the Premier League title-holders suffered a shock 2-1 loss at bottom side Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Conte, though, has confirmed the 24-year-old is available to face Roma in the Group C clash at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

“Alvaro is in contention for tomorrow’s game,” the manager told a news conference.

“He has trained with us and is in contention for tomorrow.”

N’Golo Kante, Danny Drinkwater and Victor Moses have also picked up recent injuries and Conte feels a lack of depth in his squad is to blame for the mounting list of absentees.

“The problem is we are playing the same players and they are not used to playing three games in-a-row,” he said.

“I have to take risks. Morata got injured against City, but if I didn’t put him in there you’d say I was crazy.

“I could have taken a risk to play Morata on Saturday versus Palace but I am not so stupid because the situation is difficult.

“For tomorrow, I am not taking a risk if I decide that Morata should play, for sure.”

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Conte also confirmed he had previously expressed an interest in the Giallorossi’s star Belgian midfielder Radja Nainggolan.

“In the past we tried to buy him, but he’s Roma’s player,” he said. ”I have great respect for him, for Roma and my players.

“He’s a really good player, one of the best midfielders [in the world], but he’s an opponent.”

The Chelsea boss welcomed the visit of Eusebio di Francesco’s team to Stamford Bridge as an opportunity to respond to the surprise loss at Selhurst Park last weekend.

“The Champions League is a really tough tournament,” he said.

“Roma are a great team and are doing well in Serie A. They are well organised, have a lot of good players but it’s a good time to play.

“I know tomorrow will be very difficult because I know Italian football.”

Having suffered two successive league defeats to fall nine points behind Manchester City, the coach was also asked if he may have to soon consider prioritising one competition ahead of another.

“Honestly I think we have to go game by game,” he replied.

“We are only in October and not March. Now I think it is impossible to take this decision, risk.”

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