Conte guarded on Costa future


Chelsea manager Antonio Conte says that Diego Costa’s future at the club is not up for discussion with the focus firmly on the rest of the season.

There has been fresh speculation linking the striker with a move to China as there had been earlier this campaign, however Conte, speaking at a press conference ahead of their home game with Middlesbrough, said it was more important to focus on the games ahead.

He said: „It is very important for every player at Chelsea to be focused on the present. Now is more important than the future, to prepare in the right way for these five games.

„I’m not worried about this, I see the players every day and am seeing the right focus with them.

„I have discussed the future with Diego, it is not important now.“

I have discussed the future with Diego, it is not important now.

Antonio Conte

The game at Stamford Bridge, which takes place on Monday night, has implications at both ends of the Premier League table with Chelsea seeking the points for the title while Middlesbrough could be relegated if they fail to get the victory.

Steve Agnew’s side are six points off safety with three games remaining and, depending on how Hull and Swansea fare, they may be further behind by the time they kick off.

Meanwhile, Chelsea’s lead at the top of the table, by that stage, could be down to just one point if Tottenham beat West Ham at the London Stadium on Friday night.

Despite the fact the teams seem destined to be in different divisions next season, Conte is guarding against complacency.

„My expectation for Middlesbrough, we must play a great game, try to take three points, because this game is very important,“ he added.