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Conte confirms starts for Hazard, Musonda, Kenedy against Nottingham Forest

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Or at least as far as Conte ever confirms anything in his press conferences.

Chelsea Training & Press Conference Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images

If everything goes according to plan — and there’s no reason to think that it wouldn’t — Eden Hazard, Charly Musonda Jr, and Kenedy should all be getting their first starts of the season tomorrow night against Nottingham Forest in the League Cup. While technically Conte didn’t etch any of this into stone, as per his normal style, he went just about as far as he’s ever willing to go in revealing lineups plans for any given upcoming match.

"Now is the right moment for Eden to start the game and try to play the whole game. I hope for him it is the final step from his injury. We have managed his situation very well. In my career I was injured a lot of times, and I have a bit of experience about this. Now he is ready to start the game."

Chelsea have been very conservative in managing Hazard’s comeback from the fractured ankle that he suffered in June, but that’s probably for the best — even if possibly the two dropped points on Sunday could’ve been avoided by starting him. Presumably, if Hazard does come through unscathed in this game, he will be back in the first-choice starting lineups going forward.

A couple players who are in no danger of breaking into the first-choice lineups should also finally get their debuts after being passed up for a similar opportunity last week against lowly Qarabag. Arguably, Nottingham Forest will pose a bigger challenge than the Champions of Azerbaijan for the two youngsters.

"It’s a good opportunity to give chances to some players who in the last period didn’t play a lot. It could be a good opportunity for Charly Musonda, and also for Kenedy."

"Kenedy knows very well what happened in China. He made a mistake, but everyone in life can make a mistake. He is focused, he is working very well and he understood his mistake. Now he is ready to play and to show he deserves a place for the future."

"You can see Charly’s talent very clearly. I am sure we are talking about a young player with really good prospects. Now it is important he is working very well and trying to adapt himself to this league, which is not simple. It’s a physical league."

"He is a bit thin but now he is working a lot to improve his strength and be prepared for the big impacts in this league. I trust Charly. It’s important for the coach to trust a young player, but also important to have a good answer when the chance to play arrives."

Speaking of Charly, we’re assuming that he’d play as an inside forward, but Conte could deploy him in a couple different positions, including, and this would be surprising to say the least, wing-back.

Regardless of who starts and where — what about Jake Clarke-Salter and Kyle Scott? — Chelsea will be looking to win the game and move on to the fourth round of the competition. Conte’s laid down the challenge for the youngsters and fringe players; now they need to follow through.

"It’s one of the four competitions. We have to try to do our best. It’s not easy to face four competitions but tomorrow is a good opportunity to give a chance to some players who didn’t play a lot. "

"This season could be an opportunity for all the players to play games. The most important thing is when the chance arrives, to take it. In our squad we have many young players. It’s important for them to take this chance and show me I can count on them. For sure we want to win and go to the next round."

-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC

So say we all.