Conte’s Hazard decision was ‘technical’


Antonio Conte has allayed fears that Eden Hazard was substituted against Arsenal on Wednesday because of any injury problem.

The Belgian superstar was withdrawn from the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at Stamford Bridge, which finished 0-0, with seven minutes remaining.

And with the game on a knife edge, Chelsea fans were puzzled by the Italian’s decision with some speculating that the move could have been down to an injury niggle.

But Blues boss Conte later confirmed that the switch, which saw Tiemoue Bakayoko enter the frame, was purely tactical.

“No, it was a technical decision,” he said.

Conte then went on to defend his attackers who have often been criticised for not taking their chances this season.

“You must be worried if you don’t create and it is difficult not to score,” Conte added.

“Every game we create chances, this season we might be a bit unlucky, but haven’t taken the chances. The speech is not for the strikers, [Andreas] Christensen had two fantastic chances to score.

“It is not just the strikers, you have to take chances. The semi-final it is important to take your chances.”