Antonio Conte says he did not pick Michy Batshuayi or Ruben Loftus-Cheek for Chelsea’s 2-0 FA Cup win over Wolves because his team’s target is “to win, not try to make happy all the players”.
Loftus-Cheek came on for Eden Hazard with four minutes to go for what was just his seventh appearance of the season, while Batshuayi was left out, having started Chelsea’s two previous FA Cup games.
Neither has yet started a league game, however, bringing increased scrutiny on Conte’s willingness to play the two young players that are seen as important for the club’s future.
Although an FA Cup game against a Championship side seemed a perfect occasion to give the pair playing minutes, the Italian instead went for a first-choice attack of Eden Hazard, Diego Costa and Willian.
Conte dismissed questions on this, however, insisting he had used the game to solve other issues like alternative wing-backs. The win over Wolves saw Pedro stand in for Marcos Alonso on the left, and score.
“I think today it was important to continue to play with Costa, Willian and Hazard. Don’t forget our target is to win, not to try to make happy all the players,” he said.
“It is important I repeat to make the right choices. Also because Diego, for us, it was very important to play and to score, the same for Hazard, the same for Willian, and also today it was very important to find the new solution with two wingers as wing-backs.
“I repeat it is important to find the best solution and then why not the next game Ruben or Michy can start.
“Now it’s very difficult to tell this because if you see our path in FA Cup, in the first game, I made nine changes, the second game I made nine changes and today I made seven changes but I tried to make the best decision to win the game and, yeah, when we have the game in the quarter-final I’ll decide the line-up.”