Antonio Conte took part in his first pre-match press conference on Friday, where he answered questions about his side’s League opener against West Ham United, the state of the transfer market and his aims for the season.
In his first pre-match press conference at Cobham, the Italian reflected on last season’s problems and difficulties and spoke of the importance of using those memories to stay strong throughout the season. He said “I think last season was bad for all the players, not just one, two or three. It’s important we don’t forget last season because if we remember it we have more strength.” On being asked about his aims and target for the coming season, he said “Expectations for every team are very high.” The 47-year-old insisted his side were working hard to be ready, saying that the coming season would be difficult for every team.
“‘I think this league is fantastic but very tough,” he said. “There are many great clubs who can fight to win the title, fantastic players with great talent. There are also good managers, it will be a great battle and I’m excited.” The former Juventus boss insisted that his players were excited as well, and that they were in a good situation where they could challenge the others and that they were ready.
This summer, Chelsea brought in N’Golo Kante and Michy Batshuayi from Leicester City and Olympique Marseille respectively. Out of their more notable youngsters, Nathan Ake was loaned out to AFC Bournemouth and Bertrand Traore has been loaned out to Eredivise giants Ajax. Speaking on any transfer activity within the club in the near future, Conte said that he was constantly communicating with the club. He added that he was happy with the squad at his disposal as his players had shown a lot of commitment to him everyday, something he holds in high regard. He called for patience, however, saying that they must wait to find the right ‘solution’ for the team. “We must be patient to find the right solution for the team. It’s important to improve the squad,” he said. “Chelsea is waiting for the right solution but at this moment it’s not easy. It’s a crazy transfer market because when you try to buy a player the cost is very expensive and not the real valuation, it’s a very strange situation.”
Speaking about his first Premier League game, against a dangerous West Ham United side, he said that he was sure that the match was going to be a tough one. “We face a strong team, they had a good season last year, they have a good manager and good players. They are physical, fast and have great talent,” he said. Chelsea haven’t lost in a season opener in since 1998, when they lost to Coventry City. Conte spoke of how difficult it would be because it a London derby, but that he wanted to play and start the season by bringing the fans and themselves some satisfaction. “We will try to fight and do our best to win the game because it’s important to start in the right way. To start with a derby is tough but I’m excited.”