Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has revealed he has previously attempted to sign Belgian midfielder Radja Nainggolan from Serie A side AS Roma, while he has also bemoaned the size of his “thin” squad ahead of Wednesday’s return to Champions League action.
Roma and Nainggolan are the visitors to Stamford Bridge as Chelsea look to take a big step towards the last 16 of the competition, knowing a win would put them in firm control of their group. The Blues beat Atletico Madrid last time out in the Champions League but have lost their last two domestic games to Man City and Crystal Palace.
Speaking ahead of the game, via the Mirror, and in the knowledge the first team squad have been littered with injuries recently – the likes of N’Golo Kante and Victor Moses are still missing – Conte admitted his squad were not used to playing three games a week and that his decision to play the same players frequently, while he’s forced to do so, is taking its toll.
Conte said: “We have to play every three days and it’s not simple. Also because, in this moment, we are ‘thin’ we have to play always the same players. Honestly, there is this type of risk to have other injuries. I hope not.
“The problem is we are playing always the same players. And also we have players in our team who are not used to playing three games in a week. (For) Kante, it’s the first time. For Moses, the first time. For (Alvaro) Morata, it’s the first time to play regularly for his team. For (Marcos) Alonso, it’s the same.
“When you have a lot of games, you need to rotate players. If this is not possible, I have to take risks.”
Conte seems set for options in midfield despite injuries to Kante and new arrival Danny Drinkwater, but Chelsea would certainly be better off with a player like Nainggolan in their ranks. Unfortunately for the Blues, though, he’ll be lining up on the other side on Wednesday.