New Chelsea gaffer Antonio Conte refused to reveal the reason why he omitted Cesc Fabregas from his side that defeated West Ham 2-1 on Monday night.
Former Italy boss Conte left the Spain international on the bench, and reports from Spain have suggested that the player has been offered to Real Madrid.
Sport claim representatives of Fabregas have contacted Real about a potential switch to the Spanish capital, despite his connections to Barcelona, however Conte insisted the midfielder remains central to his plans.
“Cesc is Chelsea’s player, and I’m happy about him, with his attitude and behaviour,” said Conte.
“He must know from before that when we are a great team like Chelsea it can happen that I have to take a decision before the game to choose a starting XI.
“That can happen that Fabregas is not in the starting XI, but it can happen for all the players.
“It’s important to see always the right attitude. Because we must fight this season and it’s important to stay together in every situation.
“But then the shape can improve and can change all the situations. Now I took this decision but the next game I can change or not.
“When a coach takes this decision there is always a reason but I prefer to keep this to myself.
“But I repeat I don’t see any problem and I’m very happy to have these players, to train these players.”
Can't get over this amazing Conte. https://t.co/AviGVK99mP
— ️ (@addictedtoCFC) August 15, 2016
Conte also leapt to Diego Costa’s defence when it was suggested the forward should not have been on the pitch to net the winning goal.
“I must be honest Diego tried to put pressure on Adrian, and then before the contact he stopped,” said Conte.
“And then for this reason I think that the referee took the right decision.
“We know Diego is a passionate man, and he puts passion into everything he does.
“And he showed he will run for everything. But in this situation I must be honest I think that the referee took the right decision.”