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Conte 'not scared' of Chelsea youngsters

Antonio Conte could win a Premier League and FA Cup double at Chelsea this season. Credit: PA

Antonio Conte insists he is "not scared" to give Chelsea's talented youngsters a chance to contribute to the club's Premier League title charge.

Chelsea booked their place in the FA Cup fifth round with a 4-0 win over Brentford on Saturday, as Conte gave rare starts to Kurt Zouma, Nathan Ake, Nathaniel Chalobah, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Michy Batshuayi.

I think that our young players are growing and for the club, for me, it's very important.

In this season we haven't Champions League or Europa League. We have only the league now and the FA Cup.

FA Cup is a good opportunity to see these young players, the improvement in these young players.

Young players for me, for the club are very important. If they deserve to play, I'm ready to put them in the team, in the squad.

I'm not scared of the young players. The only thing I must ask is they must be ready to play.

– Conte to ChelseaTV

Chelsea too strong for Brentford in FA Cup

Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi (left) celebrates his goal against Brentford. Credit: PA

Branislav Ivanovic scored on his potential farewell appearance as Chelsea beat neighbours Brentford 4-0 in the FA Cup fourth round at Stamford Bridge.

Brentford, 15th in the Championship, took Chelsea to a replay four years ago, but there was little prospect of a repeat as the Blues claimed a 10th successive home win.

Willian, Pedro and Michy Batshuayi, with a penalty, were also on target for the Premier League leaders, whose only concern came when Willian went off midway through the second half after earlier holding his ankle.

Ivanovic replaced Willian and scored his 34th Chelsea goal on his 377th appearance, amid suggestions his nine-year stay at Stamford Bridge could come to an end before Tuesday's transfer deadline.

Chelsea defender Ivanovic faces uncertain future

Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic. Credit: PA

Antonio Conte has given no assurances over the Chelsea future of Branislav Ivanovic as Tuesday's transfer deadline approaches.

The Serbia defender, 33 next month, has made more than 350 appearances since signing from Lokomotiv Moscow in January 2008, winning every major club honour.

"I don't know if anything happens about him," Conte said.

"There are four days (remaining of the transfer window) and, in this month, there is a lot of speculation."

Ivanovic has slipped down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge since Conte switched to a 3-4-3 in September.

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