Antonio Conte has confirmed that David Luiz will not be available for Chelsea's Champions League clash against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday, 5 December, but insisted that it was not due to the pair's falling out last month.
The Blues defender has missed Chelsea's last five Premier League games but featured during their win over Qarabag in their last Champions League encounter. The Italian coach revealed that Luiz is struggling with a knee injury, which is the only reason he is not in the squad for the game against the Spanish capital club.
The Brazilian defender is said to have fallen out with the manager after a training ground row leading up to the Manchester United game on 5 November when he questioned Conte's tactics. Luiz was dropped for the reigning English champions' win over the Red Devils, but the Italian boss indicated that it was a tactical decision rather than a personal one.
Luiz's current situation at the club has alerted interested suitors, with Real Madrid and United's Jose Mourinho said to be monitoring the situation. The Spanish club has been linked with a potential move in January.
"David is out. This problem with his knee, trying to solve this situation. He's out," Conte said ahead of their clash against Atletico, as quoted by the London Evening Standard.
"Why do you ask this question? Two weeks ago, then it was the past, then he played against Qarabag. If you don't trust what I tell, it's your problem, not my problem," the Italian coach said while addressing talks about a fallout between the player and manager.
Meanwhile, Conte has been open to giving young players a chance since taking over the reins at Chelsea last summer. The Italian has introduced a number of youth team players into the senior team during training sessions and given them a chance in cup competitions.
Kylian Hazard was the latest player to join the first team in training ahead of their game against Diego Simeone's side, and Conte revealed that Eden Hazard's younger brother has been involved in the past, similar to other youth team players who get assessed by senior team coaches.
"Sometimes, he comes with us. Not only us. We try to see the young players in training sometimes," Conte explained.