Conte sympathises with Zaza over West Ham struggles

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Antonio Conte has offered his sympathy to Simone Zaza, whose dismal loan spell at West Ham looks set to come to an end in January.

The Hammers paid Juventus an initial EUR5million for the striker in August and have to sign him permanently for a further EUR20m if he reaches a set number of Premier League appearances - reportedly 14.

But the move has been disappointing, with Zaza having played only eight times in the top flight without scoring.

His agent claims he will return to Juve next month and Conte, who coached Zaza with Italy, understands the 25-year-old's struggles.

"I think this league is not easy to arrive in and to understand very well and adapt to," he told a news conference.

"I know him very well and he played with me at the Euros.

"I can tell that he is a good player, but now in England he's having a lot of difficulty to understand.

"It's important to adapt to this football because this football is very tough, very physical."

Conte was comparing the situation of Zaza to that of his own striker Michy Batshuayi, who is likely to be called up for the Boxing Day clash with Bournemouth after Diego Costa picked up a suspension in the 1-0 win at Crystal Palace.

"I think Michy has good quality, he is very young," Conte added.

"It's important to continue to work to improve and to adapt to this football. Then I think this season he can have good satisfaction."