Antonio Conte says Eden Hazard’s return to fitness is massive for Chelsea although the Italian tactician will be cautious with the forward’s workload for the time being.
The Belgium international underwent ankle surgery this summer after picking up the injury on international duty and he had failed to play a single second for the Blues this season until Saturday’s clash against Leicester City on Saturday.
Conte brought the 26-year-old off the bench for the final 12 minutes of the 2-1 victory and his return to competitive action will be a big boost for the defending Premier League champions.
European football also gets underway this week and the Blues will be aiming to get off to a perfect start when they take on FK Qarabag on Tuesday at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League.
Chelsea will also take on Atletico Madrid and Roma in Group C and Conte’s men are 2.15 favourites to top the pool, just ahead of Diego Simeone’s men who are priced at 2.38.
It is unclear whether Hazard will feature on Tuesday but Conte is delighted the talented winger is back to fitness and available for selection if needed.
“We all know very well the importance of (Hazard) for us,” he said.
“Now we must have patience to give him the possibility to improve his form, but I am pleased for him because after a bad injury it’s great to see him with us.”
Chelsea, who are 17.00 to win the Champions League, are firm 1.10 favourites to get the better of Qarabag, a draw is priced at 8.50 whilst their Azerbaijan visitors are huge 29.00 outsiders to cause an upset.