Antonio Conte has confirmed that Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata is in contention to make his return from injury during Wednesday night's (18 October) Champions League clash against AS Roma and does not believe he would be taking a risk by fielding the prolific Spaniard.
Morata has scored seven goals in nine competitive appearances across all competitions since arriving from Real Madrid in July. He missed last weekend'sPremier League loss to bottom side Crystal Palace after suffering a hamstring problem in a 1-0 defeat by Manchester City before the international break.
The 24-year-old subsequently withdrew from the Spain squad for two final 2018 World Cup qualifiers after being diagnosed with a grade two myofascial injury, sparking fears that he could miss up to eight weeks.
However, he returned to full training on Sunday and will be available to face Roma in the third game in Group C.
"Alvaro is in contention for tomorrow's game," Conte, who is not sure if he will deploy Morata from the start, told reporters at a pre-match press conference held at Cobham on Tuesday. "He has been training with us and is in contention for tomorrow.
"We know very well our situation. For sure, when there are injuries of this type, to important players, for sure it's very difficult for us. But there is this situation and now we must be very good to overcome and try to do our best. For sure, it's not simple when you don't have a lot of players like Morata, Kante or now Moses... important players."
Asked if it was a risk to select Morata given how quickly he appears to have recovered, the manager added: "No, honestly, I could take risks on Saturday and forced him to play against Crystal Palace but I'm not so stupid. The situation is very difficult.
"You have to make the best decision and, for sure, tomorrow I'm not taking a risk if I decide Morata can play. For sure."
While Morata will feature against Roma, midfielders N'Golo Kante (hamstring) and Danny Drinkwater (calf) remain sidelined and converted wing-back Victor Moses is expected to miss approximately four weeks with the hamstring issue that forced him off after just 39 minutes of that 2-1 defeat to previously winless and goalless Palace at Selhurst Park.
Attempting to explain that sudden rash of injuries, Conte, who suffered no such problems during last season's memorable title-winning campaign, insisted that many of his charges are simply not accustomed to playing three matches in a week following their return to European competition.
A lack of depth in the Italian's current squad has also become increasingly evident in the aftermath of a summer transfer window fraught with struggle and frustration.
"The problem is we are playing always the same players," Conte said. "And also we have players in our team who are not used to playing three games in a week. Kante, it's the first time. For Moses, the first time. For Morata, it's the first time to play regularly for his team. For [Marcos] Alonso it's the same.
"When you have a lot of games, you need to rotate players. If this is not possible, I have to take risks. Then, for example, against Manchester City... Morata was injured after 20 minutes. But if I hadn't put Morata in the starting XI, you'd have told me I'm crazy. Sometimes the players need to rest instead."