Antonio Conte has defended the club's decision to offload a host of the Chelsea's young prospects, insisting those looking to break into his first-team need to show more patience.

Nathan Ake and Nathaniel Chalobah, both 22, were both part of Conte's first-team squad last season but this summer the duo have left the Blues on a permanent basis this summer to join Bournemouth and Watford respectively.

Bertrand Traore meanwhile has also left Stamford Bridge, signing a permanent deal with Lyon while Kurt Zouma has joined an ever-growing list of players to leave on loan, joining Stoke City for the upcoming 2017-18 campaign. Dominic Solanke has meanwhile moved to rivals Liverpool after turning down a new contract.

Chalobah's fate was effectively sealed by the arrival of midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, with the club's former assistant manager Ray Wilkins among those to criticise the decision to overlook an academy graduate in favour of a big-money signing.

But explaining that decision, Conte said: "Honestly, there is a great difference between these players (Chalobah and Bakayoko)," the Daily Mail report. "You are talking about one who has played with Monaco, who has maybe 100 appearances, who has played in the Champions League and has played regularly. Try to understand the difference before you judge. Sometimes young players think they can play easily in the first-team, but that is not true.

"They arrive at 20, 21, and they say, 'I want to play regularly', and a lot of the time they are in a great club and it is difficult. Look at Real Madrid and many great teams. The young player wants to play regularly, he wants to go on loan. He doesn't want to suffer."

He continued: "Last season we had a lot of young players and Chalobah wanted to go and play, Kurt Zouma wanted to go and play, Bertrand Traore wanted to go and play. Nathan Ake is a good guy. Asmir Begovic wanted to go and play.

"Sometimes I think the young players lose their patience very quickly, because of parents or the people around these players. The advisers are not right. You have to fight with this. The first thing players should have is good patience. Trust the club and work very hard to know that to play at this level you must be stronger."

Chalobah was retained in the first-team squad by Conte last season but made just 15 appearances in all competitions, just one of those a starting appearance in the Premier League. The former England Under-21 international was named in the senior squad when he was just 15 but had to wait six years for his club debut in September 2016 having had six loans spells away from the club during that period.

Ake meanwhile had been arguably enjoying the best form of his senior career during his loan spell at Bournemouth during the first-half of the 2016-17 season. Recalled by Chelsea in January, he would start just one Premier League game – coming after the club had already sealed the the title. The Dutchman had spent three spells on loan before cutting his losses this summer.

Nathaniel Chalobah
Chalobah finally called time on his Chelsea career this summer. Getty