Conte impressed by Batshuayi

Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte admits striker Michy Batshuayi is ready to step in for Diego Costa if he is selected to feature against Bournemouth on Boxing Day.

Monday's fixture with the Cherries will be the first Premier League game the league leaders will be without the Spanish striker who picked up a suspension, after five yellow cards this campaign.

Costa's 13 goals sees him lead the charts for goal scoring in the top-flight, but Conte feels the £33m off-season signing from Marseille will be able to compensate for the loss of the former Atletico Madrid man.

"Michy, if I decide to put him in the starting XI, is ready to play," he told reporters. 

"It's not important to talk and put more pressure on him. He must do what he knows, what we are doing in the training sessions. Only this.

"It's important for Michy to continue to work, to continue to improve. I'm sure his moment will arrive."

The Italian manager then went on to deny that the Belgium international is seeking a temporary switch away from the club in January, with reports in British press claiming he was fed up of playing second fiddle after not starting a single game in the league.

"If Michy is here, it's because he deserves to stay here.

"Michy's attitude, his behaviour, have been fantastic. He wants to improve his quality. Technical quality, physical quality.

"We are working a lot with him on tactical aspects.

"But he's showing great commitment, great work-rate during the training sessions, great passion.

"For sure, he wants to play and it's not easy when you have in front of you Costa. Above all this, Costa who is playing fantastic football and scoring a lot of goals."

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