Friday 14 December 2018

Olivier Giroud or Emerson Palmieri unlikely to start against Watford, confirms Chelsea's Antonio Conte

Olivier Giroud signed from Arsenal on deadline day (Nigel French/PA)
Olivier Giroud signed from Arsenal on deadline day (Nigel French/PA)

Miguel Delaney

Antonio Conte says it is unlikely that new signings Olivier Giroud or Emerson Palmieri will be ready to start for Chelsea’s trip to Watford on Monday, again leaving his side without a striker as Alvaro Morata remains injured.

The Premier League champions completed both signings in the last 24 hours of the window, concluding negotiations with Roma and Arsenal respectively, but both are suffering from fitness issues. Palmieri only recently played his first match in eight months after a long-term injury.

“We have to wait,” Conte said. “Especially for Palmieri, we are talking about a player who is coming back from a bad injury. He has played only one game, in the Italian Cup against Torino. Olivier is coming back from a muscular injury and was out for 50 days before playing 15 minutes against Swansea.

“You have to try and make the best decisions to bring these two players to the best physical condition, and then work with them. It's important to adapt them to our idea of football.

“We are starting to work with him [Giroud] and we have to check his physical condition. For sure, it won't be easy to see him in the starting XI on Monday.”

Conte meanwhile confirmed that Morata is out, as is Andreas Christensen after picking up injury in that 3-0 defeat to Bournemouth.

“Alvaro is still out. I hope to be able to solve his situation. For a problem in his back, he's missing a lot of games, and this is not a good situation for me or the team. I hope in the future that the medical department is able to solve this situation.

“And then Christensen, the first clinical examination was positive, but we have to wait. For sure he's out against Watford, and then I have a couple of other situations for the game against Watford. I have to check a couple of situations. Today is Friday. We have two and a half days.

“Don't forget that maybe Willian will be able [to play]. That would give me an opportunity to change in a way I didn't against Bournemouth.”

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