In Dropping David Luiz, Antonio Conte Sends Strong Message to Chelsea Roster

Alvaro Morata

GETTYAlvaro Morata scored the winner for Chelsea on 55 minutes with a fine header

Chelsea legend Clive Walker thinks that Antonio Conte has thrown down the gauntlet to David Luiz, challenging the Brazilian to take his game on to the next level.

The start of the game was mired in controversy when David Luiz was taken out of the matchday squad following reports of a dispute with the Chelsea manager.

"Manchester United is a really good team".

Luiz was a surprise omission from the Blues squad for the visit of Jose Mourinho's side, with Denmark worldwide Andreas Christensen named from the start of the 1-0 victory at Stamford Bridge.

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"I decided this tonight, maybe I can decide a different way in the future". And this is according to the former Manchester United captain and now a Sky Sports pundit, Gary Neville.

Having recently claimed Luiz was the club's best defender, Conte said that "can change" and was adamant the call was "only a tactical decision".

Walker thinks the emphasis is now on Luiz to respond and raise his game if he wants to convince Conte that he deserves to be starting ahead of Christensen in the Blues backline. It's normal. This can happen to every one of my players, if I see they are not in good form.

The narrative is however strongly trending towards there being an actual issue that needs to be resolved between Conte and the defender he's always built up as one of the best in the world.

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"[It was] only a tactical decision, I repeat, only a tactical decision", he told reporters after the match. This mindset has yielded spectacular results when selling players - most notably Ramires, David Luiz and Oscar - but led to more problems when buying. "Sometimes, I can make mistakes or sometimes I can do the best thing".

"I'd be happy to eat humble pie if I'm wrong - and there's part of me that will be pleased if I am because I've a lot of respect for the guy".

"I thought the decision to drop Luiz was the right decision".

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