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Monday 25 September 2017

Antonio Conte worried about David Luiz's fitness in the wake of Man City game

David Luiz, left, is in a race to be fit for Chelsea following this tackle from Sergio Aguero last weekend
David Luiz, left, is in a race to be fit for Chelsea following this tackle from Sergio Aguero last weekend

David Luiz must pass a fitness check on his left knee following the horror tackle from Sergio Aguero that Antonio Conte has branded "very dangerous".

Brazil defender Luiz remains a doubt for Chelsea's Premier League clash with West Brom on Sunday, with boss Conte frustrated by the fallout from Manchester City striker Aguero's nasty challenge.

Aguero was sent off as Chelsea won 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium last weekend, to move three points clear at the top of the league.

Conte immediately apologised after the clash for ugly final-whistle scenes as both sets of players clashed on the field - but only now has the Blues manager vented his true feelings on Aguero's tackle.

"I have to check if David Luiz is able to play on Sunday because this tackle was very bad," said Conte.

"And I have to check on his recovery from his injury.

"It will be very important for him and for me on Saturday to decide whether he can play on Sunday.

"That tackle was dangerous, for sure.

"I watched the images and I was afraid (he might be injured). I was scared."

Aguero will be hit with an automatic four-game ban following an incident earlier in the season, while Chelsea hope Luiz can quickly shake off the left-knee problem he suffered in the challenge.

"He's trying to recover from this tackle," said Conte.

"It was only after I saw the replays, that's when I saw this was very dangerous for David Luiz."

Chelsea will gun for a ninth-straight Premier League win when hosting West Brom on Sunday, but wary boss Conte has refused to accept the Blues being installed as title favourites.

The wary Blues boss believes he will have a clearer picture of Chelsea's title chances at the end of the hectic Christmas schedule.

At pains to point out Chelsea started the season as "underdogs", Conte revealed he has demanded his players maintain a steely focus.

Asked if the crushing win at Manchester City leaves Chelsea as title favourites, Conte replied: "It's difficult to accept this, because I think we have played only 14 games, and to finish that first part of the season, there is the second part.

"We started as underdogs this season, and I think now it's very difficult to accept this, but it's normal if you're playing good football and winning a lot of games.

"It's important to continue, that from this win we don't lose our hunger."

John Terry has not recovered from his gluteal strain so will miss the West Brom tussle, but Nemanja Matic has beaten a calf problem.

Chelsea face Sunderland, Palace, Bournemouth and Stoke following Sunday's West Brom clash - and all before the end of the month.

Conte repeatedly stressed the importance of keeping his players focused in previewing the West Brom showdown, moving on to illustrate just how much importance he places on his squad producing the goods in training.

"It's always difficult to say if these five games are a great opportunity," said Conte. "This league has taught me that every game is very tough.

"If you don't face every game with great concentration and preparation you can find yourself in trouble.

"Sunday is the type of game we can find difficult if we don't put the same concentration, the same focus, that we had in the previous games.

"The best reply from my players is to be focused every day during the training session.

"If you have a good training session you show me that you are focused for the game.

"It's important to talk with the players, but the reply in training and on the pitch is important."

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