LONDON — Chelsea manager Antonio Conte was impressed with the strong performances of his young players during Wednesday’s 2-1 League Cup win over Everton and says he will use the cup competitions to continue their development.
Conte rotated his team after last Sunday’s 4-2 win over Watford in the Premier League and rested several key players, handing starts to 17-year-old Ethan Ampadu along with Brazilian Kenedy and Charly Musonda.
Ampadu, who was making his first start, and Kenedy played the full game while Musonda was substituted in the 70th minute as Chelsea held on to beat Everton despite a late goal from Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
“I am very happy — tonight I saw a lot of positive things — the young players’ performance. Charly Musonda, Kenedy, Ampadu — he is only 17 years old — they all played a very good game,” Conte told reporters after the match.
“It is important to trust in these players and I am happy because I had a good answer, the answer I was waiting for.
“I think that in these type of games the young players are improving — to see Ampadu tonight is important because we know we have many young players we can improve and give them opportunities.”
Conte said midfielder N’Golo Kante was making steady progress in his recovery from a hamstring injury but the Italian was happy with the performance of Danny Drinkwater, who made his debut against Everton.
“The other good news was to see Danny Drinkwater,” Conte added.
“We will have three games before the international break and to see him fit 100 percent maybe after the international break. I can count him in games now. If I decide to play with three midfielders, it’s very important.”
Chelsea return to league action with a trip to Bournemouth tomorrow — Reuters