CHELSEA - Conte: "What I read about Barkley's issue was ridiculous"

Antonio Conte hits back at 'ridiculous' Ross Barkley rumours

Ross Barkley reportedly pulled out of a move to Chelsea

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has taken aim at Everton midfielder Ross Barkley after last week's transfer fiasco.

Chelsea wing-back Victor Moses has warned that he is ready to do battle with new signing Davide Zappacosta to be Antonio Conte's first-choice at right-back.

Hazard played both games for Belgium over the global break as they secured World Cup qualification despite not having featured for the Blues for three months after undergoing surgery on a fractured ankle.

However, Hazard was recalled to the Belgium squad for their World Cup qualifiers last week and is now ready to make his Premier League return as well.

"Eden is available, he is in the squad for the game".

The Belgian playmaker has been out of action so far this season due to an ankle injury but he is now working his way back to full fitness.

"I think he's improving a lot", added the Italian.

Eden Hazard will not be at the level he was at last season when he makes his Chelsea return, warns team-mate Thibaut Courtois.

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"I like to think about the present".

"When quizzed on Costa, Conte replied: "(I have) no news about him; my focus is on English football, not Turkey.

Chelsea appeared poised to sign Barkley on deadline day but the move broke down, with conflicting reports as to why the England player opted to back out of the deal.

Conte had initially expressed surprise that Hazard had been called up for global duty, although he later softened his stance saying it could be beneficial for the player. "He worked very strong to be ready and he is an important player for us".

"My game has changed and it's all down to the manager, he gave me the confidence to play in the position", he continued.

The Express claim Conte said: "I don't like to speak about players in other teams".

Conte is thought to have been frustrated by his superiors but remained diplomatic, saying: "The club tried to do its best. He played a lot of games for the national team and was a legend of Chelsea". I think we have to wait until the end of the season and then we'll see. Usually he prefers to play on the right but sometimes he plays on the left.

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