Michy Batshuayi is confident Antonio Conte DOES have faith in him – despite starting just two Premier League games in his Chelsea career.
The Belgian, who moved from Marseille for £33million in July 2016, hopes to lead the Blues line now No1 striker Alvaro Morata is out for up to six weeks with a hamstring injury.
But he is not guaranteed to start, given that Conte chose to bring on winger Willian when Morata limped off in the first half of Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester City.
Batshuayi was only introduced as a sub 17 minutes from time, leading SunSport columnist Alan Shearer to question whether his manager had “trust” in him.
Yet the hitman insists Conte would have sold him in the summer if he did not rate him.
Speaking at Belgium’s camp in Tubize near Brussels, Batshuayi said: “I really think Conte believes in me otherwise he would have said I could leave in the transfer window – and he didn’t say that.
“His decisions often depend on the opponent and the tactics, and that is beyond my power.
“Conte congratulates me because he knows that I am working hard.
“I am stronger tactically thanks to him, as are all the Chelsea players because he is a very good coach.
“It sounds strange to say, but the misfortune of one is sometimes the happiness of the other.
“I know I will get more opportunities to play in the coming weeks.
“And is it then up to me to show that I am capable.”
Batshuayi scored the goal that clinched Chelsea the title at West Brom in May – but only started one league game all season.
In August, Eden Hazard actually urged his club and country team-mate to leave Stamford Bridge and “find a solution”, especially as Fernando Llorente looked likely to join.
On Hazard’s comments, Batshuayi commented: “It was a friend’s advice and when he said this, he thought a third striker was coming.
“But in the end, there was only two us competing for a place.
“I want to succeed at this club and my relationship with Alvaro is very healthy.
“We are both ambitious.
“I will not leave in the next transfer window because we will play a lot of matches and I will certainly be given a chance.”
The Batsman is in danger of being seen as a supersub, especially after he came off the bench to grab the last-minute winner in Chelsea’s Champions League win at Atletico Madrid last Wednesday.
He scored four Premier League goals after being brought on last season – including that one at the Hawthorns.
But Batshuayi insisted: “I do not see myself as just the joker in the pack.
“I have started matches for Chelsea and been efficient.”
Batshuayi could also earn just his third start for Belgium in Saturday’s World Cup qualifier in Bosnia, with Romelu Lukaku a fitness doubt with an ankle problem and Christian Benteke out with a knee injury.
And Batshuayi added: “I let the coach make his choice, but I approach these games with the hunger to score goals.
“All our attackers are more or less the same age, so we are a close group.
“When one of us scores, all the others congratulate him.
“For example, Christian is in a difficult period at the moment and I have sent him a message.
“There is a good feeling between us all.”Mor