Cesc Fabregas could be Chelsea's only fit senior midfielder for Saturday's Premier League game against Watford, head coach Antonio Conte has confirmed.
The champions lost Tiemoue Bakayoko to a groin problem sustained in the 3-3 Champions League draw with Roma on Wednesday, while N'Golo Kante is still sidelined with a hamstring injury and Danny Drinkwater is yet to make his debut due to a calf issue.
David Luiz was used as an auxiliary central midfielder against Roma and Conte admits similar tactical changes could be needed against Marco Silva's side.
"At the moment, I can say nothing about the starting XI," he told a news conference. "We have many doubts. I hope to try to recover some players in these 24 hours."
Asked if Fabregas is their only fit senior midfield player, he replied: "Yeah, that could be the case."
He added: "I'm not happy changing the role of my players. I think every player has his own role. But, sometimes, you have a situation where you have to adapt and you must be ready to pay for this. It's normal."
Conte says he is unwilling to rush Drinkwater into action too quickly but had a more positive update on Kante, with the France international now expected to return before the next international break at the beginning of November.
3 - This is the first time that a team managed by Antonio Conte has conceded three goals in a Champions League game. Shellshocked. pic.twitter.com/81rh5ygISc— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 18, 2017
"Danny is progressing well. Now he has started to work. It's very important for him to progress well and improve his physical condition," he said.
"It's very important to recover him very well. If I try to put him on the pitch without good fitness, I risk another injury.
"I hope to have Kante back very soon, before the international break. He's progressing well, the scan was better. He's started to work, [but] not with the group.
"If he's available before the games against Roma and Manchester United, I would be very happy.
"Every year you build something and put something new into your team. That was my first season. Now, this season, we are trying to rebuild something at Chelsea. We lost a lot of big players, a lot of big players who wrote the history of this club. Now we're trying to rebuild.
"This season we changed five players, we bought five players. We are trying to rebuild something important. It's normal that you have to pay something in this situation."
Watford have lost just one of their last six league games and came from behind to beat Arsenal 2-1 in their last outing, and Conte expects a difficult test at Stamford Bridge.
"Watford are doing very well. They had a really good transfer market and strengthened the squad very well," he said.
|Ancelotti, Conte, Allegri on shortlist to replace Ventura|
|Perth Glory 0 Melbourne Victory 2: Visitors claim first A-League win of season|
|Marcelo unaware of Ramos-Ronaldo rift at Real Madrid|
|Neymar will take PSG´s next penalty - Cavani|
|Ranieri would consider coaching Italy|
|Postecoglou set for decision on Socceroos future|
|Championship Review: Millwall deny sloppy Sunderland, Wolves back on top|
|Simeone rallies around under-fire Griezmann|
|It´s a growth process - Montella optimistic despite Napoli loss|
|Spalletti happy at Inter, tips Ancelotti for Italy job|
|Sarri defends sacked Ventura over Insigne´s Italy snub|
|Los Blank-os! Misfiring Real Madrid break new ground under Zidane|
|Zidane upbeat despite derby stalemate|
|Zidane unsure on Ramos absence with suspected broken nose|
|Mind the gap! Real Madrid must make history to retain LaLiga title|
|Napoli 2 AC Milan 1: Insigne stars after Italy snub as leaders move four points clear|
|Atletico Madrid 0 Real Madrid 0: Defences dominate in historic derby|
|Pjaca scores winner for Juventus Primavera on return from injury|
|Lions don´t recover like humans! - Ibrahimovic and Pogba thrilled to be back|
|Pogba was different class - Mourinho praises midfielder after impressive comeback|
|Competition is good – PSG boss Emery explains benching Mbappe|
|Klopp apologises after Moreno misses birth of child|
|Manchester United 4 Newcastle United 1: Pogba shines as Ibrahimovic makes his return|
|Hodgson accuses Niasse of diving to win Everton penalty|
|Roma 2 Lazio 1: Nainggolan stunner proves decisive|
|´Why not?´ - Hazard believes Chelsea can catch City|
|Bournemouth hat-trick hero Wilson: I need to be selfish|
|Valverde admits scoreline in Leganes win was ´excessive´|
|Pulis leaves uncertain future to West Brom board|
|Results not far away for struggling Swansea, claims Clement|
|Heynckes proud of 500 Bundesliga wins as Bayern go six points clear|
|Al-Hilal 1 Urawa Red Diamonds 1: Rafael earns valuable first-leg draw|
|Stones could be set for six-week spell on sidelines|
|Paris Saint-Germain 4 Nantes 1: Cavani double puts hosts six clear|
|Guardiola delighted to maintain rhythm after international break|
|Woeful Sunderland set new record ahead of expected Coleman appointment|
|Suarez unmoved despite ending Barca drought|
|Leganes 0 Barcelona 3: Scruffy Suarez double ends goal drought|
|Crystal Palace 2 Everton 2: Niasse equaliser boosts Unsworth´s case|
|Heynckes reaches record 500th Bundesliga win|
|Bournemouth 4 Huddersfield Town 0: Hat-trick hero Wilson stars for 10-man Cherries|
|Burnley 2 Swansea City 0: Old boy Cork stars as Dyche´s men win again|
|Liverpool 3 Southampton 0: Record-breaking Salah blows Saints away|
|Leicester City 0 Manchester City 2: Jesus & De Bruyne on target as Guardiola´s title tilt continues|
|West Brom 0 Chelsea 4: Hazard leads rampant champions in piling pressure on Pulis|
|They love the club - Wenger hopeful over Ozil, Sanchez deals|
|Bayern Munich 3 Augsburg 0: Lewandowski double sends leaders six points clear|
|Wenger hails tenacious Ozil after derby delight|
|Lacazette and Sanchez are always dangerous - Ozil|
|Pochettino fumes over refereeing decisions after derby defeat|
|I´m happy at Juventus - Allegri rejects Italy speculation|
|Lamela returns from injury for Tottenham U23s|
|Arsenal 2 Tottenham 0: Ozil and Sanchez come up trumps for Wenger|
|Kimmich: Working with Guardiola was incredible|
|Bale thanks Coleman after Wales coach steps down|
|Kane & Alli fit for Spurs at Arsenal, Lacazette starts|
|Sydney leapfrog slapstick Jets at A-League summit|
|Christensen guides the way for Loftus-Cheek & Abraham at Chelsea|
|Mertens: Sarri´s tactics give Napoli 12 men|
|Aubameyang back in Dortmund fold pre-Spurs|
|Bosz laments ´ridiculous´ goals|
|Madrid have best kids stockpiled – Simeone|
|Guardiola backs Stones to get even better|
|Ibrahimovic will start with bench role, says Mourinho|
|Injections to play a friendly – Mourinho slams England over Jones handling|
|Championship Review: Sheffield United go top|
|Schurrle: Dortmund couldn´t deal with Stuttgart counter-attacks|
|Conte laments Italy World Cup failure|
|Amiens 1 Monaco 1: Jovetic rescues point but champions give PSG boost|
|Stuttgart 2 Borussia Dortmund 1: Bosz pressure builds after more Burki mishaps|
|Sunderland target Coleman steps down as Wales manager|
|Conte´s wife tells him to grow a beard – Conte grows a beard|
|Simeone rules out Everton job, promising ´a couple of years at least´ at Atletico|
|Pique to miss Barcelona´s Leganes trip over personal matter|
|UEFA closes Roma ´monkey chanting´ case|
|Don´t worry about Messi renewal, Valverde tells Barcelona fans|
|´Griezmann? We´ll see´ – Valverde won´t rule out Barcelona pursuit of Atletico star|
|Unsworth surprised to see Allardyce snub Everton|
|Mourinho has ´immense respect´ for Benitez|
|Howe backs Defoe to make World Cup squad|
|Everton speculation out of my control - Silva focusing on Hornets|
|Conte concerned by Manchester City´s breakaway lead|
|Man City results ´perfect´, but Guardiola demands improvement|
|David Luiz back in Chelsea squad, Conte confirms|
|Recovered Klopp offers Liverpool fitness update|
|Guardiola confident Aguero in ´perfect´ condition despite hospital trip|
|Ibrahimovic, Pogba and Rojo back for Manchester United|
|Heynckes compiling list of potential successors|
|Modric & Carvajal fit for Madrid derby|
|Bayern begin talks over Wagner deal|
|Pulis angered as Chadli sidelined for ´foreseeable future´|
|Neymar to join Ronaldo at Real Madrid? Zidane speaks out on PSG star|
|Guardiola & Sane complete Man City award double|
|Brave Chapecoense secure top-flight status|
|Tottenham have overtaken Arsenal as north London´s best - Sherwood|
|Brisbane Roar 3 Melbourne City 1: Papadopoulos at the double as hosts finally win|
|Seaman: Wenger must start Lacazette against Tottenham|
|I am more than just a goal machine - Ronaldo ignores Real Madrid criticism|
|Skriniar not interested in Barcelona speculation|
|France need Benzema, says Aulas|
|Van Dijk could leave Southampton in January|
|Sanchez snubbed Barcelona switch - Osorio|
|Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid: Simeone and Zidane face dangerous, defining Derbi|
|Aubameyang baffled by Dortmund suspension|
|Pochettino lauds Wenger longevity as he eyes 20 years at Spurs|
|Ronaldo: Real Madrid don´t fear PSG|
|Zenit´s Mancini not thinking about Italy job|
|Wenger advises Pochettino to fight the ´fear´ of winning trophies|