Antonio Conte: Ross Barkley starting to settle in


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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte admits he was forced to play Ross Barkley earlier than expected by believes the January signing is starting to settle in.

The England international signed up for Chelsea, who are priced 1.14 to finish in the top four, in a £15million move from Everton earlier this month after falling down the pecking order at Goodison Park.

Barkley struggled with injuries in the first half of the campaign and did not feature for the Toffees prior to making the switch to west London.

Conte handed Barkley his Chelsea debut during last week’s Carabao Cup semi-final clash with Arsenal, which saw the defending Premier League champions crash out of the competition, although he admits that was not part of the plan.

Willian suffered an injury early in the tie and Conte call on Barkley to come off the bench, while he also came on to play the last 20 minutes at the weekend in the FA Cup fourth-round victory over Newcastle.

The Blues boss feels it will take some time until Chelsea fans get to see the best of Barkley but believes he is starting to come round to his style of play.

Conte said: “I don’t know because when you arrive from a bad injury, and you didn’t play for six months, it’s not simple to recover the best form.

“The player is working very well. I gave him the chance in the Carabao Cup against Arsenal, maybe because I was forced, because in a normal situation I would take more time with him, but the player is working very well and trying to come into our idea of football.”

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