Antonio Conte insists David Luiz omission against Man Utd was tactical

Antonio Conte has explained why he left David Luiz out against Manchester United after casting doubt over the defender’s future at Chelsea.

The Brazil international was given a watching brief at Stamford Bridge as the Premier League champions beat Jose Mourinho’s side 1-0 on Sunday courtesy of Alvaro Morata’s header.

Conte, however, cast doubt on Luiz’s future at Chelsea after omitting him from his matchday squad in favour of Andreas Christensen, who the Italian described as “the present and future for Chelsea”.

However, speaking in his post-match press conference, Conte insisted his sole focus was Chelsea on a whole, and that every member of his 26-man squad could experience the same as Luiz.

“It’s simple,” he said. “The coach has to make the best decision for the team, and tonight it was to play for Christensen and have Ethan Ampadu on the bench, good players for the present and future.

“I decided this tonight, maybe I can decide a different way in the future. It’s normal. I have to make the best decision for the club, not for a single player.

“It was only a tactical decision. It’s normal and this can happen to every one of my players. If I see they are not in good form, it’s normal.

“I have to make important decisions. I have a squad with 16 senior players and five young players. I have to make the best decision for the team.”

Asked whether Luiz had a future at the club, the Italian added: “You talk about the future but every day you talk about mine. From now until the end, every day my future is discussed.”

Sunday’s victory was sealed by Morata’s first goal since Chelsea’s Champions League victory at Atletico Madrid in late September.

And, having ended a six-game goal drought, Conte saluted his striker but highlighted areas he thought the Spaniard could improve on.

“Morata had a good game and showed he is strong physically and has good technique,” Conte said. “If I have to find a negative, he has to score more and be more clinical.

“But, step by step, having changed to a younger average age in the squad, it means we have to have patience and try to improve them.”

After their early-season inconsistencies, Chelsea’s victory over one of the teams jostling to take their Premier League title away from them filled Conte with joy.

“I was very happy because we beat United,” the Chelsea boss added. “Don’t forget they are one of the best candidates to win the title with Man City.

“To have this type of performance, and to see this spirit, I’m pleased. It’s great for me, the players, the club and our fans, to breathe this energy, enthusiasm and passion.

“There were a lot of positive things. The desire from my players, the fight and will to help each other. When we play in this way it’s great.

“Last season we won the title and showed fantastic spirit in every game. This season, for many reasons, we started with a lot of problems. When you have problems you must pay attention because things can go down.

“To win against Manchester United gives you confidence and enthusiasm to understand that if we want, we can.”