Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has given the slightest hint that Oliver Giroud could make his first start for the Blues on Monday when they host West Brom in the English Premier League.
Conte’s side have endured a torrid time since the start of 2018, winning three of their last 10 games in all competitions and losing three of their last games in the EPL.
The Italian manager ruled out Alvaro Morata who is still out with a back injury.
“Morata won’t be ready but Giroud is training with us and will be in contention,” Conte revealed during his pre-match conference ahead of next Monday’s clash.
“Players like Morata, for us that are very important, have been missing for a long time. He has a problem and we’re struggling to solve the pain he has.
“I don’t know how long he will be out and for this reason I’m a bit worried.”
Conte also remained confident he will remain at the club beyond the summer.
“Yes but I’m not thinking for only one moment of the possibility of going away from this club. My commitment and the commitment of my players is totally for this club and we’re trying to do our best.
“But as you know well in football, and I don’t agree, a lot of time the manager or coach depends on the result. In this case we’ve had a poor result and for this reason we have to pay great attention.
“We have to trust in our football.”
He also defended his decision to hand his players and backroom staff there days off after their defeat to Watford, citing congested fixtures.
“It was a chance, the only chance this season,” he said. “In future the federation should look for a chance to give players the rest.
“Don’t forget in this season we’ve reached the semi-final of the Carabao Cup, we’re in the FA Cup and we played Norwich twice. Then we’re in the Champions League and we have the Premier League.
“So a rest – not just for my players but in general – is important.
“Every single player knows very well that we have to try to improve and to improve the results you must play better than we did against Watford. Against Watford we were totally negative but we showed a lot against Bournemouth.
“We conceded three shots and three goals against Bournemouth. Against Watford the performance was negative from the start and we didn’t create chances. We conceded three in eight minutes.
“The coach has to try to find the best solution to avoid this situation.
“I didn’t like that performance but I’m sure the players didn’t either.
“I’ve got to look at myself as well
“I like to play football and try to dominate the game. To do this you have to have personality to play the ball.
“But the most important thing is that it (defeats) happen only once.”
He also defended Tiemoue Bakayoko after his lacklustre performance earned him red card in the Blues defeat to Watford after 30 minutes.
Conte said: “He’s a young player. Only 22. Last season he won the title in France with Monaco and played in the Champions League.
“To arrive in this league and adapt yourself very quickly is not simple but my task is to try to help him and every single player improve.”