LONDON -- Antonio Conte insists he is happy with Cesc Fabregas' "attitude and behaviour" despite leaving the Spaniard out of his starting lineup for Chelsea's first Premier League game of the season, and is adamant that every player has a chance to change his mind over team selection.
Chelsea's new head coach favoured Oscar over Fabregas alongside Nemanja Matic and summer signing N'Golo Kante for Monday's 2-1 win over West Ham, appearing to confirm weeks of reports that suggested he harboured doubts over the 29-year-old's suitability for his new-look team.
Fabregas was sent to warm up with Chelsea 1-0 ahead early in the second half, but James Collins' 77th-minute equaliser changed Conte's plans and forced him to introduce Victor Moses and £33 million striker Michy Batshuayi, whose header set up Diego Costa to score a dramatic late winner.
After the match, Conte did not disclose the reason why he picked Oscar over Fabregas, but he reiterated that he has no complaints with the Spaniard and no intention of letting him leave Stamford Bridge before the end of August.
"When a coach takes a decision there is always a reason but I prefer to keep it for me," Conte said. "But I don't see any problem and I'm very happy to have these players.
"Cesc is Chelsea's player and I'm happy with his attitude and behaviour during the training sessions. When you are a great team like Chelsea it can happen. I have to take decisions before the game to choose a starting XI.
"It can happen that Fabregas is not in the team, but it can happen for all the players. It's important to see always the right attitude, the right behaviour, because we must fight this season and it's important to stay together in every situation.
"I took this decision but in the next game we don't know. I can change or not. It's important that the team comes before all."
Kante enjoyed a largely impressive debut at the base of Chelsea's midfield despite getting booked for a rash foul on Andy Carroll in the third minute, though the Frenchman was fortunate not to earn a second yellow when he brought down Dimitri Payet on the halfway line in the game's final minutes.
"Kante is a great player, a great buy," Conte added. "It's important for the team to have a player who has good technique but also fantastic stamina who is able to cover a lot of the pitch, and to help his teammates.
"We are happy with his performance but I'm happy with the performance of all the players."