Conte: Incredible commitment

MANAGERS PRESS CONFERENCE: Burnley (H) PREM 17/18

News 11/08/2017

Antonio Conte has reported Antonio Rudiger could start tomorrow’s game against Burnley, although the Italian will be without Pedro who is set to miss the game through injury.

The Blues boss spoke to members of the media at Cobham this afternoon as his team prepare to begin the defence of our title. Conte addressed a number of topics, including the upcoming challenges and the adaptation process for our new signings.

Regarding tomorrow’s match itself, however, he explained why Pedro will be missing.

Pedro is not available because he is suffering with an injury from the Arsenal game and he wasn’t able to recover, it’s a knock on his ankle,’ said the Blues boss.

With Victor Moses serving a one-match suspension following his sending off in the FA Cup final, Conte will need to make a change and a start for Rudiger, a summer arrival from Roma, is not out of the question.

‘Because we miss Moses for one game it could be an opportunity for Rudiger to start,’ said Conte.

‘I’ve been impressed so far, he’s a good player. He’s strong physically, he has a good personality and great technique.’

The competitive nature of the Premier League, and the fact we are champions, means Conte is well aware of what to expect when his team take to the field this season. The way in which his players have been training, though, ensures the Italian is full of confidence.

‘Honestly, I’m pleased because we are working very well with the team and this group of players,’ he explained. ‘Their commitment is incredible, even better than last season and I’m very happy because these players are working so hard. We are trying to improve.

‘I don’t know if this season will be more difficult than last season. For sure, we are champions and we have to face every game in the right way. The other teams will try to put 120 per cent in against us so we have to pay great attention in every game, have the right approach and play with the right intensity.

‘I think when you start a new season it’s very important to think about ourselves and not others. To assess the other teams is not important for us. We know very well in England there are six top teams ready to fight for the title, that’s normal, and I think this season that will happen.’

One team who have been very active in the transfer market is Everton, who we play at Stamford Bridge towards the end of this month. Conte believes the Merseyside outfit will be a big threat this season.

‘I think Everton is a really good team with a strong squad,’ he added. ‘They have (Ronald) Koeman who is a good coach and they are trying to take another step to try to fight for the title and Champions League. I like this because to have many teams doing that increases the level of the league. The level is already high and to improve it is okay.’

Conte, who said Gary Cahill was the ‘natural choice’ to become club captain, was also asked whether or not Alvaro Morata is ready to start.

'It’s normal for the players that when they start to work with me, they need time to adapt to our style,’ explained the Italian. ‘Alvaro is working well and has improved a lot over the last 10 days in terms of his physical condition.

‘He is starting to understand what I want from him during the game but for sure he needs time to adapt. For me, the striker has a really important role and it’s important for them to understand what positions I want them to take up. This role is more difficult to adapt to than others.

‘We have been working very well and I must be pleased with the commitment of my players. It’s a pleasure for me to see this every single day.’