LONDON — Antonio Conte has revealed that Alvaro Morata and Cesc Fabregas are unavailable for Wednesday’s second leg of Chelsea’s Carabao Cup semifinal against Arsenal due to injury.
Morata, who missed Saturday’s 4-0 win over Brighton through suspension, has a back problem while Fabregas has not recovered from the hamstring injury he sustained last week.
Asked about the fitness of his squad, Conte replied: “Morata and Fabregas are out. They are not available for the Arsenal game. Then I have to check a couple of situations [with other players].”
Pressed on the nature of Morata’s problem, he added: “He has a problem in his back. He’s injured.”
The other “situations” Conte has to check are understood to be Thibaut Courtois and Danny Drinkwater, who missed the Brighton trip with ankle injuries.
Chelsea will also be without Kenedy, who Conte confirmed will join Newcastle on loan as the Blues close in on a deal to sign Roma left-back Emerson Palmieri.
“He needs to play regularly and to go to Newcastle is a great challenge for him,” Conte said of Kenedy. “It is a great way for the club, we used same way for [Andreas] Christensen. Now he starts for Chelsea. It is a great opportunity but he knows that he has to be ready to fight to play for Newcastle.
“Last season in the first six months for Watford he struggled to play, but now he is more ready. He played with us many games and he can show his potentiality.”
Asked if Kenedy’s departure means that Emerson is incoming, Conte replied: “As you know very well, if the club decides to loan a player then it decides to bring in another player or work with a young player like [Dujon] Sterling. I am ready for both options.”
Chelsea approach Wednesday’s trip to the Emirates Stadium with growing confidence, having claimed their first victory of 2018 in spectacular style against Brighton, with Eden Hazard the outstanding performer.
After the match Hazard urged Chelsea to take the same attacking mindset into the Carabao Cup semifinal, but Conte suggested that a different approach may be required in order to make it to Wembley.
“Every game is different,” he warned. “The opponent changes things, you must be intelligent to know if you need to change [your approach].
“When you play against Arsenal for sure you must be prepared to suffer without the ball. They like to bring many players in the box and find combinations. For this reason we must pay great attention. We have to be compact with the ball but at the same time dangerous when on the ball.”
Liam is ESPN FC’s Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Liam_Twomey.