Morata regrets playing through pain and thanks Conte for his trust
Alvaro Morata regrets trying to play through the pain barrier with a back injury which ultimately kept him out for nearly a month before returning against West Brom on Monday.
The Spain international made a strong start to life in England, scoring eight times in his first 11 Premier League appearances following a €65million move from Real Madrid.
But he has struggled since, scoring just two in his last 10 league games and attracting criticism for several wasteful performances in front of goal.
It became apparent that he had been suffering from a persistent back problem in January and, after the FA Cup replay penalty shoot-out win over Norwich in which he was red-carded, it was finally decided that Morata needed time off once his suspension was served.
He made his return after nearly a month out in Chelsea's 3-0 defeat of West Brom, appearing as a second-half substitute, and he acknowledges making a mistake in trying to cope with the injury after Antonio Conte had put so much faith in him.
Speaking to Movistar, Morata said: "He [Conte] is the one who bets on me and that's the truth.
"At the end of the day, a great club has given me the opportunity to play as a starter and to grow.
"That is until the physical problems arrived. I was wrong to play with pain. I wasn't okay to play."
Chelsea and Conte have given Morata the opportunity to play first-team football as a regular starter, something he was never afforded at Madrid or Juventus.
His second spell in Madrid last season saw him feature more often, but even though he scored 15 LaLiga goals from just 14 starts, Morata grew frustrated by not being trusted to play in the bigger fixtures.
"I played lots in my home, with my team, with my friends," Morata said. "We won the league and Champions League.
"I played lots of games, but always with the 'plan B'. I never asked to be a starter, Madrid is another planet.
"But I didn't play knockout games in the Champions League, neither against Barcelona, Atletico Madrd, Sevilla or Valencia. Life doesn't end when you leave Real Madrid, but I am still a fan of Real Madrid."