Conte worried by Morata injury

10 February 2018 02:43:15 GMTPlus11

Chelsea boss Alvaro Morata says he expects to be without striker Alvaro Morata for a "long period" as they struggle to find a solution to his back injury.

The Spaniard has not featured for the Blues in their last four matches due to the problem and he will be missing once more when the defending champions face West Brom on Monday night.

Chelsea are 1.33 to get the better of struggling West Brom next week, while Albion are 12.00 and the draw is 5.25.

Conte has opted to play without a recognised striker for the last two matches, both of which have ended in heavy defeats to Bournemouth and Watford.

The Italian is now set to hand January signing Olivier Giroud his first start since joining from Arsenal but admits he is concerned by Morata's fitness due to him being lite on strikers.

"Giroud has trained and will be in contention,” he said. “We are talking a lot about bad results, but sometimes we forget we are facing a serious situation.

“Players like Morata, for us, are very important and have been missing for a long period of time. I don’t know how long he will be out.

“We are struggling a lot to find a solution to solve the pain in his back. If you ask me whether he needs a day, a month or the rest of the season, I don’t know. I don’t know. For this reason, I’m a bit worried. You know very well the importance of the player.”

Conte has called for a reaction from his players when they take on the Baggies on Monday after successive defeats, leaving the defending champions 19 points behind leaders Manchester City.

"Every single player knows we have to try to improve the results and play better. Against Watford it was totally negative," said Conte.

The Blues are 26.00 to finish in the top four this season.

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