Antonio Conte admits Nemanja Matic's exit is a great loss for Chelsea
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has admitted that midfielder Nemanja Matic will be sorely missed at Stamford Bridge following his switch to rivals Manchester United last month.
Matic, 29, won two Premier League titles during his three-year stay in west London, but he pushed through a move to Old Trafford in order to reunite with former Blues coach Jose Mourinho.
The Blues have brought in Tiemoue Bakayoko from AS Monaco to replace the Serbia international but Conte has described Matic's departure as a 'great loss'.
"Matic knows very well what I think about him," he told Sky Sports News. "The importance for me about this player because, I repeat, he's a really good and strong player and important for our team.
"Sometimes you must accept this crazy transfer market and sometimes you must accept different decisions, but I repeat for sure he is a great loss."
The Premier League holders are currently short of options in the central midfield department with Nathaniel Chalobah and Nathan Ake having left for Watford and Bournemouth respectively on a permanent basis.
Bakayoko is still a month away from returning from a knee injury, and this leaves Chelsea dependent on Cesc Fabregas and N'Golo Kante to perform the midfield duties without getting injured.