English Premiership

Conte confirms Batshuayi to decide Chelsea future

Michy Batshuayi (AP)
Michy Batshuayi (AP)

Cape Town - Chelsea boss Antonio Conte remains unsure about Michy Batshuayi's future, despite seeing the striker bag a brace in the 3-0 win over Newcastle on Sunday.

The Belgium international scored twice in the first half to put the Blues in the driving seat in their FA Cup fourth-round clash at Stamford Bridge and was denied a hat-trick by Karl Darlow after the break.

Batshuayi took his tally for the season to 10 goals from 25 appearances in all competitions for Conte's side, but with Roma striker Edin Dzeko on their radar this month, the 24-year-old could find his opportunities even more limited.

Conte insists he wants the Standard Liege youth product to stay put, but concedes the decision is out of his hands.

"There is a World Cup this summer and every player wants to play to try to push for the competition. This is another situation," the Italian said after the match.

"If the club decides to add another player, I don't know if Michy wants to stay or go on loan. This is a player decision, not mine. I want to continue to work with my players.

"I don't know what will happen but when you have to play in the Champions League and FA Cup, three strikers is the minimum. Then we have to see what will happen in the transfer market.

"If you see our squad, we don't have three, four, five strikers. We have two, Morata and Batshuayi. There is also [Eden] Hazard if I decide to play with [Ross] Barkley, Willian and Pedro.

"My task is to try to exploit every player in the best way. For sure, it's important that he's scored, but he also has to work hard to help the team. He improved a lot his energy and then the club will make the best decision.

"If the club wants to add players to this squad or if we continue with just two strikers, I'd be happy in both cases."

Chlesea next welcome Bournemouth to Stamford Bridge in an English Premiership clash on Wednesday with Conte's men needing a win to keep pressure on the two Manchester clubs.

Kick-off is at 21:45.