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Costa absent but still no start for Batshuayi

Diego Costa's absence from the Chelsea squad was not enough to see Michy Batshuayi handed a start in Saturday's clash with Premier League champions Leicester City.

Spain striker Costa – rumoured to be the target of a big-money bid from Chinese Super League side Tianjin Quanjian – was dropped after a reported bust-up with manager Antonio Conte and fitness coach Julio Tous in training this week.

It is understood the disagreement centred on Costa's fitness, with the 28-year-old having missed three days of training in the build-up to this weekend's match at the King Power Stadium.

"On Tuesday, Diego stopped training with a pain in his back and then in the week he didn't train with us," Conte explained in quotes reported on Chelsea's Twitter account.

"We played without Diego against Bournemouth and we have had time to prepare for this. We've prepared very well."

Batshuayi, who scored in the 4-1 FA Cup win over third-tier Peterborough United last time out, has not made a start in the Premier League since signing from Marseille in July.

With 14 goals, Costa is the joint top-scorer in the division, helping Conte's side to the summit following an abysmal defence of their title last term, when the Foxes took full advantage.

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