Alvaro Morata is still recovering from injury and needs more time to return to top form after his missed chances against Bournemouth, according to Chelsea manager Antonio Conte.
Chelsea striker Morata missed the target on a glorious one-on-one opportunity, had a goal controversially disallowed for offside and saw another effort impressively saved by Asmir Begovic in the first half of his side’s 1-0 away Premier League victory on Saturday.
The Spain international went on to set up Eden Hazard’s second-half winner and Conte insists he was happy with his performance.
Conte believes the fact his club-record signing suffered a hamstring strain in the home defeat to Manchester City before the international break is still having an impact.
Morata, 25, was not involved as the champions suffered a shock 2-1 loss at bottom side Crystal Palace earlier this month, but has played in the four matches since without scoring.
“Honestly, I’m happy with his commitment, his desire, his will to fight,” Conte said of Morata at his post-match media conference.
“For sure, he can do better but, don’t forget, he is recovering from a muscular problem.
“When you have this type of problem, it needs a bit of time to come back to the best physical condition.
“But I’m very happy with his performance. He recovered very important balls a lot of times in transition.”
Conte is hopeful N’Golo Kante will be fit for a big upcoming week of action that sees Chelsea play away to Roma in the Champions League before hosting Manchester United in the Premier League.
Kante has not played for Chelsea for a month having sustained a hamstring injury on international duty with France.
Asked if the midfielder could face Roma, Conte said: “I hope. I hope. He could be ready.
“But you know very well the importance of this player. I want to be sure he is ready.
“Honestly, I hope to have him in this game. But I’d prefer not to take a risk. If he’s ready, he plays.”