Conte: Diego Costa not in Chelsea squad because he's injured

Diego Costa
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The Blues's leading scorer was left out of the squad to face champions Leicester City but his coach insists there is nothing more to it than injury

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has denied reports of a bust-up with star striker Diego Costa.

Goal understands the Blues boss had a row with Costa and that he subsequently didn't train with the club in the build-up to Saturday's game against champions Leicester City.

Costa dropped after Conte row

There have also been reports that the Spain striker's head may well have been turned by a mammoth £30 million-per-year contract offer from the Chinese Super League.

And while Conte confirmed that the 28-year-old has not trained with his team-mates since Tuesday but insisted that it was injury – and not a sanction – which kept Costa out of the matchday squad.

"On Tuesday Diego stopped training due to a pain in his back,” the Italian told BT Sport. “During the week he didn't train with us for these reasons.

"This is not the first time we play without Diego. It's not the first time we played without him. We prepared very well for this game [without him]."

It had been reported that Costa clashed with one of Chelsea’s fitness personnel on Tuesday over his back problem which drew Conte into the row.

The Blues boss was reported to have said “go to China!” to his 14-goal hitman following a bid from a Chinese club thought to be Fabio Cannavaro’s Tianjin Quanjian.

Eden Hazard led the line for the table toppers with Costa absent and Michy Batshuayi again consigned to the bench.