Conte: Dropping Luiz Was Tactical

David Luiz

The Brazil global did not even make the bench as Andreas Christensen was handed a start, with rumours of a rift with Conte being the reason for his omission circulating around social media.

It remains to be seen whether Conte will place his faith in the Dane long-term, but he has all-but confirmed that his faith in Luiz is a thing of the past.

Luiz was then made ball boy during Chelsea's training session ahead of the United game, for which he was banished to the stands.

After a third straight Stamford Bridge win over ex-Blues boss Jose Mourinho's United, Conte's men moved to within a point of secondplaced United - nine behind Manchester City.

Costa, who will rejoin Atletico Madrid permanently in January, clashed with Conte a lot last season and was told in May he was surplus to requirements at Chelsea.

Conte meanwhile will be crossing his fingers hoping that his men avoid injury during games with their respective national teams.

You have to feel sorry for Luiz if that's the case.

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Abramovich had been a driving force behind the decision to re-sign Luiz last summer and regards the Brazilian as a world-class defender, but that did not influence Conte's decision.

He said after the United win: "Maybe in the future I can decide a different way or continue in this way".

"The coach has to make the best decision for the team, and tonight the best decision for the team was to play with Christensen and to have, on the bench, (Ethan) Ampadu". It's only a tactical decision. "He's lackadaisical as a defender but I think he is a very good midfield player and I have said this on numerous occasions".

"[It was] only a tactical decision, I repeat, only a tactical decision", he told reporters after the match.

"That's some kind of achievement already, so after that he could claim himself as a player that is ready to replace one of the three, I still didn't have that many games in one team so after this season it might be my time but I don't know". I was very happy for this. "But it can change, it can change".

"If the manager wants to get rid of you, he can".

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