The Blues boss sympathises with his striker's struggles for regular game time as he prepares to replace the Premier League's top scorer on Boxing Day. Antonio Conte thinks that Michy Batshuayi will get more opportunities at Chelsea in the future, but admits that Diego Costa's form makes it hard for the Belgium international to make his breakthrough at Stamford Bridge. Batshuayi has yet to make a Premier League start since his £33 million move from Marseille in the summer, as Costa's 13 goals in 17 games in the league have helped his side to a six point lead ahead of Boxing Day.
However, Costa's booking against Crystal Palace means that he will be suspended for Bournemouth's trip to Stamford Bridge, possibly leading to Batshuayi's first league start. Conte believes that Batshuayi will be ready for the game and sympathised with his striker's lack of opportunities so far. “Yes, Michy's attitude, his behaviour, have been fantastic. He wants to improve his quality," Conte said at a news conference at Cobham Training Centre. "Yes, but he's showing great commitment, great work-rate during the training sessions, great passion. "For sure, he wants to play and it's not easy when you have in front of you Costa.
"Above all this Costa, who is playing fantastic football and scoring a lot of goals. But I repeat: it's important for Michy to continue to work, to continue to improve. I'm sure his moment will arrive.” “I think every single player, every forward, is different for characteristics. Because the players are different. "Michy is different if you compare him to Diego. Above all because, first of all, he's a younger player. "He can improve a lot. For sure, to stay close to Diego, you can learn a lot to improve your experience and improve your skills. But, for sure, to have the training sessions with great players improves you.”
Batshuayi has only managed starts in cup matches so far for Chelsea, having only featured from the bench in the Premier League. Despite links with a move away, Conte is confident that Batshuayi is remaining patient and is not seeking to leave for more regular football. “In this case I prefer not to give more pressure on the players because I think it's no good to do that. Michy, if I decide to put him in the starting XI, is ready to play," Conte added. "It's not important to talk and put more pressure on him. He must do what he knows, what we are doing in the training sessions. Only this. If Michy is here, it's because he deserves to stay here.”