Antonio Conte side-stepped questions on David Luiz’s future and made light of speculation over his position after once again proving the scourge of Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge.
Alvaro Morata’s second-half header earned Premier League champions Chelsea a 1-0 victory over Manchester United which ensured they remain nine points behind leaders Manchester City, who second-placed United now trail by eight points.
It was Mourinho’s third loss in three visits to his old stomping ground with United and came after Conte had dropped Brazil defender Luiz from the squad altogether following last Tuesday’s chastening loss at Roma.
Conte provided an ambiguous answer when asked whether Luiz, who was replaced by Andreas Christensen, had a future immediately after the match.
Conte told Sky Sports: “I don’t know. He has to work really hard otherwise they are on the bench or in the stand.”
The Italian, who often begins answers with “yes”, “no” or “I don’t know”, was asked about that remark in his post-match media conference.
“Are you talking about the future? But every day you put my future (in doubt).”
Conte insisted Luiz’s omission was “only a tactical decision”, the best for the team and praised Christensen.
“It’s normal,” Conte added.
“This can happen to every one of my players, if I see that they are not in good form.”
Conte recently stated Luiz was his best defender.
“It can change,” the Blues boss said.