• Frenchman will be fit to face Hull City in the FA Cup despite coming off the pitch with his head bandaged.
  • Boss also hopes that Morata's back issues are finally over after Spaniard returned to action in the second half.
  • Blues take on Hull on Friday two days before the visit of Barcelona for the first leg of the Champions League last 16.

Antonio Conte has confirmed that Olivier Giroud will be available for the upcoming FA Cup fifth round against Hull City on Friday (16 February) even though the Chelsea January signing came off the pitch with his head bandaged during the Blues' 3-0 win over West Bromwich Albion on Monday [12 February].

The news is a major relief for the Chelsea fans with Alvaro Morata also returning from a back injury ahead of a crucial run of fixtures which will include the first leg of the Champions' League last 16 against Barcelona (20 February) and two Premier League clashes with Manchester United (25 February) and Manchester City (4 March).

Giroud was handed his first starting appearance since his January arrival from Arsenal and created Eden Hazard's opening goal.

However, the France international was replaced by Alvaro Morata in the 61<sup>st minute of the game after receiving medical treatment on a couple of occasions following challenges with Ahmed Hegazi and Jonny Evans.

But Conte allayed injury fears about the Frenchman after confirming that he and Morata now only need to build up their fitness ahead of the upcoming crucial clashes with Hull and Barcelona.

"He was unlucky but he is ready for the game against Hull," the Chelsea boss said in the press conference following the 3-0 win over West Brom.

"Now it's very important for him and Alvaro to play games, they need to find the best physical condition. Training is okay but games are better and more important."

Morata had missed Chelsea's previous four games due to a back injury and Conte suggested on Friday [9 February] that the Spaniard was going to remain on the sidelines for West Brom's visit with club doctors struggling to get to the bottom of the issue.

However, the Spaniard played half an hour and also played a role in Hazard's second goal of the game.

"We must be pleased with Giroud's performance, it was the first time he played from the start with us. For sure, he needs to improve to go into our idea of football but to have a point of reference, like Olivier, is very important.

"We must be pleased because on the same night we found Morata who played very well in the last 30 minutes, with great personality and spirit. Now we need these two players to find the best physical condition.

"Morata missed one month with a pain in his back and I hope we've solved the situation. For Giroud it's the same, he's coming from a muscular problem and for us it's very important for him to go into our idea of football and understand the right positions, for example the first goal was a clear example of our idea."

Meanwhile, Chelsea were handed a further boost during their win over West Brom with Andreas Christensen returning to Conte's starting line-up following a hamstring injury that had been sustained during the defeat to Bournemouth on 31 January.

Conte also hailed the importance of his comeback ahead of having most of his players fit for the upcoming busy run of fixtures.

"We are talking about a player who is only 21, he is showing great maturity, calmness and great personality. He's been performing well from the start of the season. Defensively he's very good, he needs to improve with the ball, to find solutions with the ball, he has the right potential to do this but we are talking about a player who is only 21. For me, he has a brilliant future," the Chelsea boss added.

"Now it's very important to rest tomorrow. Tonight it was very important to get the points because only after a win can you consider the game easy. For our confidence it was very important to win and keep a clean sheet.

"Now we must prepare for another game in the FA Cup, we want to try to go to the next round and then prepare for the games against Barcelona, Manchester United and Manchester City, three massive games for us."

Antonio Conte
Antonio Conte received plenty of positive news from Chelsea's win over West Brom. Getty