Antonio Conte refuses to dwell on cause of Thibaut Courtois’ ankle injury
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said it was “not important” how goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois hurt his ankle amid suggestions the injury was sustained playing basketball in a commercial shoot.
Asmir Begovic came in for the injured Courtois for Sunday’s Premier League clash at Manchester United, for whom Zlatan Ibrahimovic was named among the substitutes.
Conte confirmed to Sky Sports in his pre-match interview that Courtois was out with an ankle injury, saying: “During the week he had an injury in his ankle and he didn’t recover for this game. I hope only this game (he misses).”
When put to Conte that it was understood the injury was sustained playing basketball for a commercial, the Italian said: “I think it is not important now to understand the way that he had this injury.
“The bad news is that he is injured and now it is important to work to recover very soon.
“Thibaut Courtois for sure is one of the best goalkeepers in the world, but we trust a lot in Begovic. I am sure today he’ll play a great game.”
For United, meanwhile, manager Jose Mourinho decided to leave Ibrahimovic on the bench with the 35-year-old top scorer having faced Anderlecht in Thursday’s Europa League quarter-final first leg.
David De Gea returned in goal as United made four changes from the trip to Belgium, with Marouane Fellaini, Ander Herrera and Ashley Young coming in.
The latter captained the side with Wayne Rooney again absent from the squad, along with forward Anthony Martial.
Chelsea made a last-minute alteration to the line-up, with Kurt Zouma replacing Marcos Alonso after the Spanish left-back sustained an injury in the warm-up. Nathan Ake came onto the bench.