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Conte: Costa and Kante can play

Diego Costa is available to play his first football of the United States tour and N’Golo Kante his first in a Chelsea shirt when the Blues take on Milan in Minneapolis on Wednesday night local time.

That was the news from Antonio Conte after the squad trained in the sparkling new, awe-inspiring NFL stadium in the city centre, with both those players involved.
‘Diego Costa has recovered from his injury,’ reported the boss. ‘Tomorrow I decide the formation and the starting 11 but he is available and I am very happy that I can count on him. I repeat that Diego Costa is a Chelsea player and for me this is the most important thing at this moment. He is very happy to stay with us.’
Kante, having joined pre-season later than anyone else due to France’s progression to the end of Euro 2016, has had five days of training.
‘He is in a good shape,’ said Conte. ‘Now he is working on the tactical aspect including through the video analysis, and also on the physical aspect, and I think tomorrow he can play one half or 30 minutes and I am very happy to see him so ready to play.’
The Italian emphasised the time is yet to come when he starts thinking about the starting selection for the first match of the season back in England, especially as he says there is a possibility of players coming in and going out in the transfer market before then.
‘The West Ham game is a bit far but not too far because there remain only two weeks and the season is close. It is important to work very well in this pre-season with these players and I am pleased because there is a good attitude and good behaviour.
‘With the Bremen game our pre-season finishes, and then we will start the week that will bring the West Ham game. For me and for the club it is important to have the year very clear. I know the moment will arrive to choose the players and it is my role.’
On the much more immediate horizon is the honour of joining a club Conte knows well from Serie A in competing in the first ever event at the Minnesota Vikings’ new home.
‘The stadium is wonderful and we are pleased to play the first time,’ he said. ‘And the American crowd is fantastic because they have the passion and enthusiasm and we feel this during the games.’

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