Chelsea's Eden Hazard and Tiemoue Bakayoko to miss start of season
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has confirmed Eden Hazard and Tiemoue Bakayoko will miss the Community Shield with Arsenal on Sunday and the Premier League opener with Burnley.
Hazard has been out of action since injuring his ankle in training with the Belgium national side, and Conte has confirmed that summer signing Bakayoko underwent knee surgery earlier in the summer.
"There are two players [unavailable]: Eden Hazard and Bakayoko," Conte said at his news conference. "They are working to try to recover very soon but they are not able for tomorrow's game."
Chelsea begin their season at home to Burnley on Aug. 12 and, asked if they would be fit, he said: "Honestly, no. It's too early.
"We have to wait, to have patience and for sure they are improving a lot, their physical condition.
"They are recovering very well from their injuries but they are still not ready to start the season.
"The problem about Eden is an ankle problem, and it's important to respect the right time to recover, and the same for Bakayoko, because he also had surgery on his knee, but I repeat we are hoping for them to recover very well and the work is going well."
With the €222 million (£198m) transfer of Neymar to PSG, it has been reported that Barcelona could turn their attentions to Hazard, but Conte is confident he will remain a Chelsea player.
He said: "We are trying to buy players, not sell them! Otherwise the number is always less and we are in trouble! But I think these are rumours and Eden is very happy to stay with us and play with Chelsea, start the new season with us and recover from his injury. I think so."
He said Neymar's transfer is "a difficult topic," saying "we must be ready to cope with this amount of money" when one of the world's top players changes club.
He continued: "For a normal player now you must be ready to spend £40m or £50m. If you want to buy a top player, you must be ready to spend this money: £200m. But it's a difficult, difficult topic, and it's an impressive amount of money, £200m. But if PSG is able to do this, why not?"
The coach declined to comment on Nemanja Matic's £40m sale to title rivals Manchester United this week, saying only: "You must ask the club about this."
Conte was also asked about Diego Costa after the forward's lawyer complained about his treatment at Chelsea and said he would demand a move to Atletico Madrid.
"For me, it's very simple, the situation," he said. "I repeat what I said in the past: the player, his agent and the club knew very well the future of the player in the summer. They knew very well.
"For sure I don't understand why his lawyer is getting involved, but the situation is very clear and is always the same."
Meanwhile, Conte says he wants to see some "intensity" during the Community Shield, despite the perception the match is a glorified friendly.
"I think friendlies have ended for us, this is an official game," he said. "It's the first trophy in this season, it's an important game for us and Arsenal.
"We want to play a really good game, with good intensity, and also to prepare for the start of the season.
"For sure it was a pity to lose the FA Cup final against Arsenal after a really great season for us. Now there is another game and we know very well Arsenal is a strong team and will be a difficult game for us, and we want to start the season with a win but the same for Arsenal. I hope to see a good game."