Antonio Conte confirmed that Chelsea will be without Alvaro Morata for their clash against Huddersfield Town on Tuesday (12 December) owing to a combination of tiredness and a back injury.
The Italian coach could turn to Michy Batshuayi in the Spaniard's absence or opt to play Eden Hazard or Pedro as a false number nine in a 3-4-3 formation against the Terriers.
Morata played the full 90 minutes of Chelsea's loss to West Ham United on Saturday (9 December), but was ruled out for the midweek clash, with Conte bemoaning his squad depth as they face a game every three days going into the New Year.
The former Real Madrid striker, who has scored 10 goals since his arrival in the summer, missed a couple of weeks earlier in the campaign with a hamstring injury and Conte will be hoping that his current layoff is short-term.
The former Juventus boss admits that it is difficult to work on the players' fitness with games being played every three days. He also revealed that there are a number of players tired as they have been playing since the start of pre-season without a break.
Apart from Morata, the manager will also be without David Luiz, who is yet to recover from a knee injury that has side-lined him for the last four games. Danny Drinkwater has been named in the traveling squad after the midfielder returned to training following a bout if illness.
"Morata is out. He is a bit tired and he has a problem in his back," Conte said during his pre-match press conference, as quoted by Sky Sports.
"I think when you play every three days, it is impossible to have a training session and to work on the physical aspects. It's impossible. It's impossible because you have to prepare with the players for a game every three days.
"I think we have to face the reality and will try to do our best. If I stay here to complain it is not the right way. We have to try to do our best. For sure it is difficult because to face a game every three days is not simple, especially if your squad is not big, but at the same time, we have to face this situation," the Italian coach explained.
"Some players can be tired, that's normal because some players are playing from this summer and our tours in China and Singapore.
"But I repeat we have to find the best solution. We have to find more rotations. I'm doing this, we will try and do our best with hunger and desire. We will fight," he added.