EPL: Kante fit after fainting incident, says Conte

Eden Hazard will be key to Chelsea’s hopes of reaching the Champions League quarter-finals

Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte, has confirmed that midfielder N'Golo Kante passed out during training last week, ahead of their Premier League trip to Manchester City.

Lionel Messi's goal at Stamford Bridge last month leaves Chelsea needing a goal at the Camp Nou, but Conte warned of the need for discipline and that the freedom enjoyed against Palace would not be the case in Catalonia.

But the Blues' performance in that game has given boss Conte every confidence in his players' ability to cause an upset.

According to the Birmingham Mail, Conte had this to say about his former captain: "For sure for us it was a big loss". "Because when you play against this type of team, one of the best teams in the world, you must be prepared to suffer". He didn't play a lot of games but, despite this, his commitment is incredible and he helped me a lot in the changing room.

"It won't be easy".

"We have to prepare for that game in the right ways, they are a strong team, the game will be totally different compared to today but we have three days to decide with the players the right plan".

"We could have played on for three hours, and I [still] wouldn't touch a ball", Hazard told HLN after Chelsea's Champions League qualification hopes were dealt a blow. "We have to go at speed with them", Conte states during his pre-match press conference at Cobham on Friday.

"They have lost their last two games but they deserved more against Tottenham and Manchester United", he added.

The introduction of Wilfried Zaha after six games out with a knee injury boosted Crystal Palace in the second half but by the time he set up Patrick van Aanholt for a 90th-minute consolation goal, there was no way back for the Eagles. A big loss. I tried to keep [Terry] for another season, but he wanted to play.

While the attacking numbers support Willian's inclusion in the team, Conte insists his defensive work is equally important.

"When you play in the Champions League or FA Cup, experience is very important".

But Hodgson dismissed suggestions that he could have let Zaha start the game. "It's very clear what we've got to do in the remaining games".

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