(Reuters) - Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is keen to see how his side cope with the absence of striker Diego Costa and midfielder N‘Golo Kante and may change his favoured 3-4-3 formation when Bournemouth visit in the Premier League on Monday.
Costa, the league’s leading scorer with 13 goals, and Kante have both featured in all of Chelsea’s league games this season, but are suspended against Bournemouth.
“It is a good test for us because we play without two players who are important for our team,” Conte, whose side are six points clear at the top after an 11-game winning streak, told a news conference on Thursday.
“This team showed in the past that we can play with different formations. It can be an option.”
Conte would not be drawn on whether he would hand striker Michy Batshuayi his first league start since his 33 million pound ($40.77 million) move from Olympique de Marseille.
“For the young player to adapt is very difficult,” Conte said. “I think Michy is working very well. We must have patience with him. The next step is to play more in this season.”
Conte described his opposite number Eddie Howe, who has steered Bournemouth to 10th, as “a really good manager.”
“I like him and have great respect for him...If he continues in this way he can become a manager of a great team,” he said.
“I have studied Bournemouth and they are a good team with good organisation. They always try to play from the back and put on good pressure.”
Conte has no injury concerns ahead of the game apart from skipper John Terry, who is still unavailable.
($1 = 0.8118 pounds)
Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Brian Homewood