London: Chelsea were dealt a double blow on Tuesday with manager Antonio Conte saying that midfielder Cesc Fabregas and defender Gary Cahill will miss Wednesday’s FA Cup third round replay against Norwich City because of injury.
England international Cahill was substituted in the first half of last Saturday’s stalemate with Leicester City in the Premier League while Spaniard Fabregas was taken off in the second.
“Cahill (is injured), but his problem is not too serious. Cesc had a little problem in his hamstring and is not available,” Conte told reporters.
Chelsea have recorded four goalless draws in their last seven fixtures across all competitions, dropping to fourth in the league and facing a must-win fixture against Norwich at home to progress to the FA Cup fourth round.
”This is a real problem for us. We are not conceding but the bad news is that we are not scoring,“ Conte said. ”We have to improve in this aspect.
“If you compare to the past every single player has scored less than last season.”
The Italian said that he would have to rotate his squad heavily ahead of the league trip to Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.
“Tomorrow is another game in a busy period for us. I have to make many changes. We have to play against Brighton after two days,” Conte added.
“This is the great risk to make rotation, a lot of rotation. If you want to face and try to go to the next round in every competition this is the only way we can do.”
Meanwhile, media reports have linked Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez with a move to Chelsea this month but Conte is unsure of the transfer.
“I don’t know but I don’t think so,” Conte replied when asked directly if Chelsea were trying to sign the Chile international.
“About the transfer market I prefer to talk to the club and give an opinion and I repeat I don’t want to give my opinion on that.”
Conte also said that newly-signed midfielder Ross Barkley is unavailable for Wednesday’s match as the England international was not registered in time.
The 48-year-old refused to comment on striker Michy Batshuayi’s future, who has been linked with a move away, saying the Belgian along with Welsh teenager Ethan Ampadu were likely to play against Norwich.
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Updated Date: Jan 17, 2018 18:23:03 IST