League cup will help assess young players, says Conte


LONDON: Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has said that the League Cup will provide an opportunity for him to assess the development of the youngsters in his squad.

Chelsea travel to the Olympic Stadium for the fourth-round Cup tie against West Ham United high on confidence after back-to-back league wins against English champions Leicester City and Manchester United.

Conte gave his vote of confidence for the youngsters in the team, but said he would only play his “trusted” players.

“It’s an important competition for us. We also know this cup can permit you to see some players, above all young players,” Conte told reporters on Tuesday.

“This season we have only this and the FA Cup to see the other players, for this reason probably we can see some change.

“If I decide to play the young players it is because I trust them, not to make a gift.”

Chelsea edged West Ham 2-1 in their opening fixture of the Premier League, and Conte said he once again expects a closely-contested derby game.

“We are ready and all the players are ready to play a good game,” he said.

“I hope to see a good atmosphere. I know that these two teams are big rivals, but in England it is always a fantastic atmosphere and I hope to see that tomorrow.”

Conte added that defender John Terry was fit to start against West Ham after returning from an ankle injury, but ruled out defender Branislav Ivanovic and midfielder Cesc Fabregas due to injuries.

The former Juventus manager also defended his passionate touchline gestures, and joked that he required a larger technical area at Stamford Bridge.

“I am a passionate man, I showed this in the past, I like to be with my team, but I always show respect for the other club and my history speaks for me,” he added.

“For me, it’s very difficult because it is only two metres. I have to ask my club to change my area.”