English Premiership

Conte: Winning more important than fringe players

2017-02-20 19:15
Antonio Conte (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has warned the club's fringe players that they won't get game time unless they earn their starting position.

The Italian tactician made seven changes to his Blues side for the 2-0 win over Wolverhampton in the FA Cup that secured them a quarter-final berth at the weekend.

However, he still preferred to start Diego Costa and Eden Hazard ahead of Michy Batshuayi and academy prospect Ruben Loftus-Cheek as he targets a league and cup double in his first season in charge at Stamford Bridge.

"It was important to continue to play with Costa, Willian and Hazard [against Wolves]," Conte told a press conference. "Our target is to win, not to try to make all the players happy.

"It's important to make all the right choices because for Diego it was very important to play, to score. The same for Hazard and Willian. It was very important for me to find a new solution with the two wingers as wing-backs.

"In the first game [against Peterborough] I made nine changes, the second game [against Brentford] I made nine and against Wolves I made seven but I tried to make the best decision to win, and then when we have the game in the quarter-final I'll decide the line-up."

Conte's men resume their assault on the Premier League title when they welcome Swansea City to Stamford Bridge on Saturday looking to extend their formidable lead at the top of the table.

Kick off is at 17:00.

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