Conte: It is a pity Chelsea sold De Bruyne

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte says it is a pity Kevin De Bruyne will be on the opposing team in their crunch trip to take on Manchester City in the Premier League.

Conte's side have won seven consecutive top-flight matches and sit one point clear of Liverpool and Pep Guardiola's City at the top of the table ahead of the game.

De Bruyne is one of Guardiola's key players having started in 10 of their 13 top-flight games this season and the Chelsea boss agreed that his team had sold him too early back in 2014.

The Belgium international spent a superb campaign with Wolfsburg before joining City the following season, leaving Chelsea having to cope with him on Saturday.

"De Bruyne played with Chelsea and I think he is a really great player," Conte said at his pre-match media conference when asked if the Blues had let him go prematurely.

"It is a pity that now he is playing for another team.

"For sure this is the case because he is a fantastic player, but now he plays with Manchester City. I wish him the best - after our game." 

Conte is hoping to be able to name another unchanged team against Chelsea's title rivals, but has to check on a couple of unknown squad members before being sure.

He continued: "No injuries at the moment, we have to check on the physical condition of one or two players and then decide the line-up tomorrow. I prefer to keep this [the names] secret.

"I'm pleased for all the players that are playing. Those on the bench understand. There is the right atmosphere.

"I think tomorrow it’s a really tough game. It is a great test for us, for our formation, to continue this way. 

"We know that it won't be easy because we face a really great team, with a great idea of football.

"I think it is another step to show if something has changed compared to the start of the season.

"For sure it is a big game. This season we played also a big game against arsenal Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham, but I think in this league every game is a big game because it's very difficult and very tough. 

"For me this is my first season in English football and these games are new in my career experience. It's fantastic and I'm looking forward to playing."

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