Antonio Conte warned Chelsea signing Alvaro Morata needs to be protected

Garth Crooks warns Chelsea that Alvaro Morata will need to be wrapped up in "cotton wool"

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte Photo: Screen grab

Chelsea need to wrap up Alvaro Morata in cotton wool to ensure the striker doesn’t pick up a serious injury this season, Garth Crooks has claimed.

The defending Premier League champions welcomed their bitter rivals Manchester United to Stamford Bridge on Sunday evening as the Blues look to get one over former manager Jose Mourinho.

The Red Devils snubbed the chance to sign Morata in favour of landing Chelsea’s top target Romelu Lukaku in the summer transfer window.

Morata was unable to get on the score sheet in Chelsea’s 1-0 loss to Premier League leaders Manchester City at the end of September and picked up a hamstring problem in the 1-0 defeat.

However, the 24-year-old made amends with a brilliant looping header in Chelsea’s 1-0 victory over title rivals Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Sunday evening.

Morata has scored seven goals and has made three assists in 10 appearances in the Premier League this term.

Former Spurs forward Crooks believes Chelsea will need to protect Morata throughout the 2017-18 season to ensure their £58m summer signing remains fit.

“Chelsea will need to wrap Morata in cotton wool in order to get him through a Premier League season,” Crooks told BBC Sport.

“Fixtures during the Christmas and New Year periods can make or break a team, not to mention a player’s form, and Morata looks more like a thoroughbred stallion than a Hereford bull.”

Chelsea finished top of the Premier League table last term and seven points clear of Tottenham Hotspur.

The defending champions are looking to retain their title for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United side.

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