Antonio Conte admits he can understand the concern of David Luiz and other out-of-favour Chelsea players who have ambtions of playing at next summer’s World Cup.
The Brazil international hasn’t featured in the Premier League for the defending champions since a 1-0 win against Bournemouth at the Vitaltity Stadium at the end of October.
Luiz has made two appaerances in the Champions League but the South American has fallen behind summer signing Antonio Rudiger and Danish defender Andreas Christensen in the pecking order.
The 30-year-old was a key member of Conte’s team that won the Premier League title with two games to spare last season after the Blues finished seven points clear of their closest rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
Luiz has been linked with a potential move to Chelsea’s top-six rivals Arsenal and Manchester United in recent months given his ambition of playing at next summer’s World Cup in Russia.
The former Paris Saint-Germain defender, who ended his international retirement in 2017, was left out of Brazil’s most-recent squad.
Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi has also struggled to secure vital first-team minutes under Conte as the striker looks to impress Red Devils boss Roberto Martinez.
Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday about the players desperate to feature at next summer’s World Cup but out of favour at Chelsea, Conte said:
“I was a player, I will understand if someone is worried about the World Cup.
“I understand it’s very important to keep players very happy to stay here to work with us and I think this must be our priority.
“To keep the players happy to stay with us, to continue to work with us. At the same time, I was a player and I will understand if someone is thinking in this way (that they need to play more).”
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