Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has admitted that Wednesday night's Carabao Cup encounter with Bournemouth could see his side rotated for the use of fringe players. However, the Italian has also claimed that he will not give out "stupid presents" to those that don't deserve the chance.
It's expected that Belgian forward Michy Batshuayi will receive a rare opportunity up front, while Ethan Ampadu, Dujon Sterling and Callum Hudson-Odoi are also in with a shout to start the match against the Cherries.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, the Italian was adamant that players will only feature if they deserve it:
“I have the right expectations for the players who are not usually playing with regularity, but deserve this chance." Conte said, according to the Mirror.
“If they don't deserve it, I don't like to give presents. Stupid presents. If you deserve it, you'll have your chance."
One player to prove that Conte means what he says is Andreas Christiansen, who displaced David Luiz following the bust-up between the Brazilian and his manager, and Conte has kept him in the squad ever since:
“I put Christensen is because he deserves to be in, and this guy has fantastic prospects for the present and the future.
“Every time I decided to give him the opportunity to play, he played with an amazing performance. These performances convinced me that Christensen has to play with regularity.
“Christensen is maybe the best surprise from the start of this season, despite his young age - for me, the club, his team-mates, the fans."
A win over Bournemouth on Wednesday night will see the Blues head into the semi-final of the League Cup, a competition they last won during the 2014/15 season.