Antonio Conte explains team selection for Chelsea v Tottenham

The Chelsea manager addresses his decision to leave out Diego Costa and Eden Hazard for the FA Cup semi-final

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte Photo: Screen grab

Antonio Conte attempted to explain his decision to leave Diego Costa and Eden Hazard on the bench for Chelsea’s FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur.

The Chelsea boss made the decision to omit arguably his two most-important players from his starting line-up despite a place in the FA Cup final being up for grabs.

Costa and Hazard were both disappointing in Chelsea’s 2-0 loss to bitter rivals Manchester United to allow Tottenham to move to within four points of the leaders.

Michy Batshuayi was selected up front to lead the line for Chelsea’s side, while Willian was included in the starting XI at the expense of Belgian star Hazard.

Speaking to BBC Sport ahead of Chelsea’s clash against Tottenham, Conte explained his decision to make five changes from the team that lost at Old Trafford.

“I took this decision about our starting XI. At this moment it is part of the season whenever we play any game it is important to have a player in your mind and make a decision.

“You risk in the same way if you start with Diego or Eden or they come on. I try to make the best decision.”

His move paid off, as Chelsea won 4-2 to book their place in the final, with Hazard coming off the bench to score his side’s third goal in the second half.

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