Antonio Conte admits he is currently unsure how much time David Luiz is set to miss as the result of a knee injury that will keep the Chelsea centre-back sidelined for Wednesday's (29 November) Premier League visit of Swansea City to Stamford Bridge.
Luiz has lost his regular place in Chelsea's starting XI over recent weeks, replaced by Andreas Christensen in the aftermath of a reported bust-up following the embarrassing 3-0 Champions League defeat to AS Roma last month in which he is said to have questioned his manager's tactics.
His solitary start in November came during the 4-0 thumping of Qarabag FK in Azerbaijan that sealed Chelsea's place in the last 16 of Europe's elite club competition.
Conte claimed that Luiz's omission against United was purely tactical and has preferred to operate with a three-man defence containing Christensen, the versatile Cesar Azpilicueta and captain Gary Cahill.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference at Cobham on Tuesday afternoon, the Italian revealed that Luiz would miss out against Swansea due to injury and was set to be assessed by Chelsea's medical staff. Further updates are expected tomorrow, although it remains uncertain at this stage if it is a fresh problem or the continuation of a long-standing issue.
The former Benfica and Paris Saint-Germain defender, who was withdrawn from the home tie with Roma as the result of a groin injury, wore heavy strapping last season and played through pain in his right knee although did not require surgery after being on the receiving end of a horrendous red-card tackle from Sergio Aguero during the fiery 3-1 win at Manchester City in December 2016.
Recently he had been playing with both his knee and previously broken wrist strapped up.
"I can tell you the players not available," Conte replied when asked for a team news update before Swansea, per football.london. "Luiz for a knee problem, [Charly] Musonda, [Michy] Batshuayi and Kenedy are trying to find the right form to be back."
Back-up striker Batshuayi has been unavailable since aggravating a foot knock soon after joining up with Belgium earlier this month, while Musonda has been struggling with a knee complaint. Kenedy, meanwhile, was revealed to be suffering from a muscular injury in the run-up to the trip to Baku.
Conte confirmed that Victor Moses was in contention to face Swansea after remaining an unused substitute on his return from a hamstring tear against Liverpool, while he also defended summer signing Tiemoue Bakayoko after his latest sub-par display at Anfield.
"Don't forget, Bakayoko is a player who is very young," he said. "Only 23 years old. For many reasons, he played a lot of games. I think he needs for sure to improve on the tactical aspect, with us, and to go into our idea of football.
"But at the same time, for a young player to play regularly, with this regularity, is not simple. Not simple. He's playing well. It's normal that you can alternate good performances with other performances less good.
"But I think he's a young player who is working very well. I'm very happy with his commitment, with his behaviour. But, for sure, he has a lot of space for improvement."