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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 June 2018

Eden Hazard return from injury 'great news' for Chelsea but Antonio Conte urges patience

Belgian forward made his first appearance of the season as a substitute since sustaining an ankle fracture in June.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has welcomed the return of Eden Hazard from injury during their Premier League win over Leicester City on Saturday but said the Belgian forward needs time to get back to full fitness.

Hazard, who recovered from an ankle fracture sustained in June, played for the final 12 minutes as Chelsea ground out a 2-1 win with goals from striker Alvaro Morata and midfielder N'Golo Kante to go third in the table.

"This is good news for us," Conte told the club's website. "For sure he needs time to be 100 per cent but for us his recovery is very important."

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Chelsea are back in Uefa Champions League action on Tuesday, where they face Azerbaijan's Qarabag at Stamford Bridge and Conte said he would be patient with Hazard.

"We all know very well the importance of this player for us," the Italian said. "Now we must have patience to give him the possibility to improve his form, but I am pleased for him because after a bad injury it's great to see him with us."

Chelsea must continue to work on integrating new signings into the squad after winning three games in a row since their opening day defeat, Conte said.

A post shared by Eden Hazard (@hazardeden_10) on

"We must be satisfied ... now we are trying to involve new players with the older players and this is a process. We need time. In football there is not a lot of time but we are working hard," Conte said.

Apart from striker Morata, the club's record signing from Real Madrid, new boys Antonio Rudiger, Davide Zappacosta and Tiemoue Bakayoko also featured against Leicester.

"I think Baka is improving his physical condition. Also, he is starting to understand and adapt to our style of football," Conte said.

"He has to improve with the ball because without the ball he is very strong. He is a young player and has good signs for us."