Antonio Conte wanted to keep John Terry at Chelsea but accepted his decision to leave

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Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte says he tried to keep John Terry at Stamford Bridge for another season but understood his reasons for leaving.

Antonio Conte has revealed he was keen to keep John Terry at Chelsea this season after the Blues legend was pictured back at the club’s Cobham training ground.

Aston Villa captain Terry was a surprise visitor to Cobham on Thursday, where he watched training and was seen enjoying the company of Conte and former team-mates Frank Lampard, Carlo Cudicini and Jody Morris.

Asked at his news conference ahead of Saturday's clash with Crystal Palace whether Chelsea were missing Terry, who joined Villa in the summer, Conte said: "For us it was big loss.

"I tried to keep him for another season but he wanted to play and I understood this. I wished the best for him and his family.

"John Terry's role last season was incredible. He didn't play a lot of games but despite this his commitment was incredible, great.

"He helped me a lot in the changing room and for sure, with John Terry, we are talking about a player with great experience.

John Terry waves at the final whistle of the FA Cup fourth round match against Brentford
Image: Terry won five Premier League titles with Chelsea

"I think for John, Chelsea is his home and he can come here when he wants. The door is always open for him and for the other players that have written the history of the club.

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"For me it is always a pleasure to see him and have a chat. But I think it is also good for the players to see their old captain."

Aston Villa's John Terry celebrates after the 2-0 victory over Birmingham City in the Second City derby
Image: Terry will captain Villa for Saturday's visit of Championship leaders Wolves

David Luiz did not train this week as he continues his recovery from a knee complaint, and the Brazilian misses this weekend's visit of Crystal Palace.

Ross Barkley will also be absent for the London derby on Saturday with a hamstring injury but N'Golo Kante is in line to return for Chelsea.

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Kante missed the 1-0 loss at Manchester City as a precaution after fainting following a training session last week.

Conte reiterated the midfielder's absence for their clash at the Etihad Stadium was precautionary, but says there are no concerns over the France international's long-term health.

"N'Golo is fine," Conte said. "He trained the whole week. He is in good form. He is fine.

Chelsea's Italian head coach Antonio Conte celebrates on the pitch with Chelsea's French midfielder N'Golo Kante (L) after the win over Manchester United
Image: N'Golo Kante looks set to return for the visit of Crystal Palace

"Last week - on Friday if you remember - it was very cold. After the training session he passed out briefly in the dressing room.

"The doctors gave him many check-ups to understand his physical condition but it was all clear.

"On Sunday, he was well but at the same time I thought it was right not to take the risk and give him the opportunity to rest. But he is okay and every check-up is okay, is perfect."

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