Antonio Conte: 'Chelsea trying to build with youngsters'

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Antonio Conte insists that Chelsea "are trying to build something important" with their younger players, rather than through "words or money".

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has claimed that his side are doing "a fantastic job" when it comes to integrating younger players into the first-team squad.

The Blues have been criticised in the past for their reluctance to use academy graduates, instead turning to the transfer market to strengthen the side.

Conte has used versatile defensive midfielder Ethan Ampadu on six occasions this term, however, and centre-back Andreas Christensen has slotted in seamlessly since returning from a loan spell at Borussia Monchengladbach.

In the wake of a rumoured falling out with the club's board regarding a lack of support in the last two transfer windows, the 48-year-old insists that he is happy to build for the future with youngsters.

"As you can see, we are working a lot also with, for example, Ampadu," he told reporters ahead of Monday's trip to Watford. "He's only 17 years old. Christensen is only 21 years old. There are also [Tiemoue] Bakayoko, who is only 23; [Davide] Zappacosta is only 25.

"We took a lot of young players. With Christensen, we are trying to develop the young players of the academy. I think we are doing a fantastic job. We are trying to build something important with work - not with words or money."

Chelsea brought in three new players last month - Olivier Giroud, Ross Barkley and Emerson Palmieri - for a combined £48m.

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Antonio Conte gives instructions during the Premier League game between Liverpool and Chelsea on November 25, 2017
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