Antonio Conte has warned striker Michy Batshuayi that Alvaro Morata's injury layoff doesn't mean that the Belgian will automatically replace him.
The Italian has chosen to snub the £33m forward in the past when his leading man is injured, choosing to play with no recognised striker and a handful of more withdrawn forwards all darting into attack together.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Conte admitted: “If you compare Michy with last season he has improved a lot. Last season he had few opportunities to play but this season he is playing a lot and the most important thing is to show he is improving because also don’t forget as a striker I can utilise Hazard.
“Last season we played two games with Hazard as a No.9, with Willian and Pedro. If I see a game where this is the solution I am ready to do that again but Michy is deserving to have opportunities to show he can play.”
Conte also discussed injuries to N'Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater, admitting: “It is a big loss and a big problem. We have Cesc Fabregas and Tiemoue Bakayoko and then young players Kyle Scott and Ethan Ampadu but we must be ready to approach these seven games [before the next international break], find different solutions and to decide.
“It will be very difficult to play with Fabregas and Bakayoko for seven games in a row and also we have to hope no injuries in these games. We are talking also to adapt a player. I don’t want to change a lot because you try and find a solution and you can lose something with the defence but if there is the necessity I am ready to do this.”