Belfast Telegraph

Chelsea boss Conte opens door for Terry's England return as Blues edge it

Chelsea 3-2 Bristol Rovers

By Duncan Bech

Antonio Conte insists only John Terry and Sam Allardyce can decide whether the Chelsea captain should end his self-imposed England exile.

Terry retired from international football in 2012 but Allardyce, who names his first England squad on Sunday, has indicted he may speak with the 35-year-old Blues defender over the possibility of a return.

"I'm a former international team coach so I know this situation and prefer it to be solved between Sam Allardyce and John Terry. That's the right way," former Italy boss Conte said.

Conte was speaking after a 3-2 victory over Bristol Rovers at Stamford Bridge that booked Chelsea's passage into the third round of the EFL Cup.

Ola Aina limped off in the second half and was replaced by Terry and Conte is concerned that his resources could be stretched ahead of Saturday's clash with Burnley.

Michy Batshuayi, a £33million summer signing from Marseille, struck twice in a tense victory over League One Rovers. Victor Moses grabbed the other goal.

"We knew that we would have to work very hard. I knew the atmosphere around this cup and could tell this game would be very hard," Conte said.

"It's a pity because we were dominating this game and then we suffered. We created a lot of chances in the first half to score many goals.

"I don't like when you concede two goals at a free-kick and a penalty. When you have the opportunity to kill the game, you must kill the game," he said.

"We must improve at crosses and feel the danger in every circumstance. In England a corner or free-kick can be a great chance to concede a goal."

Rovers boss Darrell Clarke was proud of his underdogs.

"It's a compliment that Chelsea played a strong side and rightly so - they're not in Europe," Clarke said.

"We rode our luck at times but we had a right good go and Chelsea brought on some of their big hitters, but they're a fantastic team and deserved to win."

Chelsea survived a tense second-half to secure passage into the third round of the competition.

A strong Blues line-up numbering five first-team regulars including Pedro and Nemanja Matic laboured against their League One opponents despite twice claiming two-goal leads as Batshuayi scored either side of Moses' goal.

Peter Hartley and Ellis Harrison, who fired the only goal of the second-half, gave Rovers hope of a famous upset against the Premier League giants.

But Eden Hazard and Oscar came on to reinforce Chelsea and the visitors eventually ran out of steam having given everything.

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