Edin Dzeko admits he hopes Alvaro Morata does not feature for Chelsea in their Champions League group match against Roma.
Morata has made a fantastic start to his career at Stamford Bridge, scoring six goals in seven Premier League matches following his summer move from Real Madrid.
The Spaniard pulled up with a hamstring injury in Chelsea’s defeat to Manchester City prior to the international break but is ready to return to the side in Wednesday’s clash with Roma.
Dzeko says Chelsea are ‘full of top players’ and admitted it would be a boost for the Italians if Morata did not play a part in the fixture.
Asked which player he would remove from Chelsea’s squad if given such an opportunity, the former Manchester City striker said: ‘If I could, I’d take at least five off.
‘The team is full of top players. Alvaro Morata did well to adapt to the Premier League quickly. It’s better for us if he doesn’t play and rests for the next match.’
Chelsea won the league by seven points last season but have made a poor start to their title defence, suffering back-to-back defeats to City and bottom-placed Crystal Palace.
‘I think Chelsea only lost to Crystal Palace because the Premier League is very tough,’ Dzeko added.
‘We know that we’ll be facing a side that is angry and a Coach that will motivate them to the max, but we’ll focus on ourselves.
Chelsea 2017/18 Fixtures
Roma – Champions League (H) – Wed 18 Oct
Watford (H) – Sat 21 Oct
Everton – League Cup (H) – Wed 25 Oct
Bournemouth (A) – Sat 28 Oct
Roma – Champions League (A) – Tue 31 Oct
Manchester United (H) – Sun 5 Nov
West Brom (A) – Sat 18 Nov
‘I’ve never scored against Chelsea and I feel motivated, but then I always want to score a goal and help my team.
‘Chelsea are one of the strongest sides I have faced that I haven’t yet scored against, so that’s an extra reason to find the net.’
On Morata’s chances of marking his return against Serie A outfit Roma, Blues boss Antonio Conte said on Tuesday: ‘Alvaro is in contention for tomorrow’s game.
‘He has trained with us and is in contention for tomorrow. Honestly, I could take a risk on Saturday to force him to play versus Crystal Palace but I’m not so stupid.
‘I repeat this situation is very difficult, you have to make the best decision, for sure tomorrow I’m not taking risks if I decide for Morata to play.’