Antonio Conte: “Giroud could become an important player”:
Antonio Conte believes Olivier Giroud could become a significant player for Chelsea – both on the pitch and also for strike rival Alvaro Morata.
Giroud provided an assist on his full debut in the Blues’ 3-0 win over West Brom and missed a fantastic opportunity for a goal too when he shot straight at Ben Foster from close range.
He was removed after an hour for Morata, who hasn’t scored since Boxing Day but looked re-invigorated and perhaps stimulated by the new competition for his place.
“To have two strikers in contention for us is very important,” said Conte. “Giroud could become an important player and at the same time I had a good answer from Alvaro and we must be happy.
“We forced Giroud to play because we had Morata injured, and it was important to have a point of reference like him on the pitch.”
The Italian brushed off speculation over his future in the build-up to the game and said the Blues would have to get used to batting off that kind of talk.
“We have to try to fight against the speculation,” he said. “The only way is to try to win, play good football and I think until the end we will continue to live with it. It’s not important for me.
“We are getting used to this kind of speculation and rumors. My players know very well what we have to do, now and in the future.”