Antonio Conte: Chelsea will not win Premier League this year - because of our squad size



Posted Saturday, August 12, 2017 by Express.co.uk

Antonio Conte: Chelsea will not win Premier League this year - because of our squad size
Antonio Conte has declared Chelsea are not favourites to win the Premier League

ANTONIO CONTE has confessed he does not see his Chelsea team as one of the favourites for the Premier League title this year.

Conte's team won the title last year against the odds, but the Italian is worried his squad is not strong enough to defend their title and take on the Champions League as well.

There were none of the usual rousing battle cries from the manager of the champions last night, only a resigned shrug as he admits the pundits who say Manchester City are favourites and Chelsea go into the new campaign against Burnley at Stamford Bridge today desperately needing fresh blood are right.

To add to Chelsea's problems after a summer of worry and discontent, the club revealed yesterday they are locked in a legal battle with stay-away striker Diego Costa.

Costa's lawyers have accused Chelsea of a lack of respect for the Spain striker for reportedly telling him he was not wanted this season by text message, and threatened to use "all possible legal mechanisms" to force a move to Atletico Madrid.

Costa, still in Brazil training on his own, was only one of a series of problems that have beset Conte, with several transfer targets not achieved, and injuries ruling key players out of the start of the campaign.

"If you have to give your evaluation it's right not to put Chelsea to be a favourite," he said. "It was the same last season. Not one person believed Chelsea would win the title. This season, at this moment, I agree with people who think this."

Asked why, Conte would only say: "I have always answered this question, not only once but twice, three times."

Conte has repeatedly insisted that Chelsea, who have spent more than £130million on four new arrivals already, need at least two or three more players, and last week declared this could be the "most difficult" season of his managerial career.

Two of his new signings, £70m striker Alvaro Morata and £30m central defender Antonio Rudiger, are set to make their debuts today, with Pedro injured and Victor Moses banned.

Conte, whose future has come into question, insisted: "My state of mind is clear. I signed a new contract, and I decided to stay, to work for this club, and try and give every day 120 per cent for my club.

"The situation is very clear. I'm happy to do this job. I'm trying to do my best every day."

Conte has been criticised for moaning about a lack of players while several youngsters have been sent out on loan this summer, but he said: "I'm not looking for sympathy from any coaches. This is my message.

"If the club decide to send players out on loan it is because these players are not ready to play for Chelsea.

Conte, whose future has come into question, insisted: "My state of mind is clear. I signed a new contract, and I decided to stay, to work for this club, and try and give every day 120 per cent for my club.

"The situation is very clear. I'm happy to do this job. I'm trying to do my best every day."

Conte has been criticised for moaning about a lack of players while several youngsters have been sent out on loan this summer, but he said: "I'm not looking for sympathy from any coaches. This is my message.

"If the club decide to send players out on loan it is because these players are not ready to play for Chelsea.



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