English Premiership

Conte shrugs Lukaku, hails 'complete' Costa

Diego Costa (Getty Images)
Diego Costa (Getty Images)

London - Chelsea manager Antonio Conte was adamant on Friday he had no cause for regret in failing to sign Romelu Lukaku, given he had a "complete player" at his disposal in rival striker Diego Costa.

Brazil-born Spain international Costa tops the current Premier League scoring charts with eight goals, while Belgium's Lukaku has found the back of the net seven times.

The two forwards will be in direct opposition when Chelsea face Everton at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Costa was not at his best last season and that led the Blues to consider re-signing Lukaku, a player they sold to Everton for 28 million ($35 million, €32 million) in 2014.

But Costa, 28, has undergone something of a revival in form since Conte took charge at Stamford Bridge and the Italian manager, asked if he had any regrets over failing to entice Lukaku back to west London, insisted Friday:

"Absolutely not. We have Diego who is playing fantastic football - not only scoring goals but working a lot and very well for the team.

"I think I am seeing a complete player in Diego. It is fantastic for me to have him in the team, and also because he is scoring a lot.

"Everybody is working a lot for the team and that is very important," he added.

"Lukaku for sure is a very good player. He is young and improving a lot, but I am very satisfied with my players. In this case I hope Diego continues this way because his commitment is incredible."

However, Conte was rather less upbeat about the Chelsea future of Cesc Fabregas.

Costa's fellow Spain international has started just one league game so far this season, sparking speculation the midfielder could leave Chelsea on loan in January.

"I think for this type of situation it is too early to talk," Conte said. "I repeat Fabregas is a Chelsea player and I am very happy to have him in my squad.

"Now it is important (for him) to recover very well and to find the right form, and come back with us and stay with the team."

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