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Batshuayi set to get the nod for Chelsea's quarter-final

Omnisport
NEWS
279   //    19 Dec 2017, 15:08 IST
MichyBatshuayi - cropped
Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi

Michy Batshuayi is set to start Chelsea's EFL Cup quarter-final against Bournemouth on Wednesday, despite Antonio Conte having no concern about Alvaro Morata's fitness.

Morata sat out last week's 3-1 Premier League victory over Huddersfield Town due to fatigue and a back issue, with Eden Hazard leading the attack as a false nine in his stead.

Batshuayi again watched on from the bench, along with the former Real Madrid striker, as Chelsea defeated Southampton 1-0 on Saturday, but the Belgium international will be granted an opportunity against the Cherries.

"[Morata] is OK. He had this problem in his back before the game against West Ham and then he struggled a lot," said Conte at a pre-match news conference.

"But now he's working very well, he's finding his best form. Tomorrow I want to give an opportunity and a chance to play to Batshuayi."

The Italian hinted that academy products Callum Hudson-Odoi, Dujon Sterling and Ethan Ampadu could also be involved at Stamford Bridge, though Charly Musonda will miss out due to a groin complaint.

"I think these players are the future for Chelsea. Sterling is a really good player, Odoi won the [Under-20] World Cup and Ampadu played the last game [in this competition] against Everton. Maybe he could start also," said Conte.

"I must consider the young players if they deserve to have this chance. Sterling, a lot of times, is working with us this season. Ampadu is with the first team every day and Odoi is another player that deserves to have a chance to show that he can play for this team for 10 years, for 15 years."

On whether a fringe player who impresses versus Bournemouth could force their way into Conte's first XI, he said: "I hope to have this type of problem.

"Before taking a decision on if a player plays for the starting XI or not, the last part of the body I look at is the head. They don't play because they're a 'big player' or a 'name'. This is not my idea of football.

"If they deserve to play, they play. [Andreas] Christensen is playing at 21. I put Christensen in because he deserves to be in, and this guy has fantastic prospects for the present and the future."

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