Conte: Solid basis

Ross Barkley might be handed his Chelsea debut soon, Antonio Conte reported at his press conference at Cobham this afternoon.

Barkley joined from Everton a week ago and has been taking part in training as he builds up his fitness having been injured for the first half of the season. The 24-year-old won’t feature in tomorrow’s fixture against Leicester City, when we will be going for an eighth straight home league win, but Conte thinks Blues fans won’t have to wait long to see Barkley in action.

‘We must be satisfied with his physical condition,’ the boss reported.

‘He is working very hard these days. This guy is not 100 per cent ready but I think he can start to help us for the rest of this season.’

Having given that update, Conte fielded a number of questions on the transfer window and also his own future. He reiterated it is up to the club to decide on any incomings or outgoings, and that ‘everything is possible in football’. His focus, he stressed, remains on ‘continuing to work and doing my job professionally, and getting good results’.

One of our players he could comment on is Baba Rahman, who has been linked with a loan move back to Schalke, where he was last season before rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament on international duty.

‘Baba is recovering from a bad injury. I had the possibility to see him in training with us only once or twice. He wasn’t ready to have a full training session with us.

‘Now he is recovering and it could be an interesting option for the player, to try to recover with them. For sure, he is not ready in this moment to play, otherwise Baba Rahman would stay with us in my squad.’

Also during the conference, Conte confirmed that during a severe storm at Cobham recently, a large piece of glass was blown on to the top of his car. Thankfully, nobody was hurt.

The boss was then asked if he was happy at Chelsea and if he would be here beyond the end of his contract.

‘I’m happy. I’m enjoying my period here. It was not simple for me. It was my first experience in another country. For sure I am enjoying the experience, staying in England, living this atmosphere and working with my players.

‘I have another year of contract and in this case the club has to decide to send me away. We have started big work here together with the players and the club, and for sure when you start work, you need time to improve your work and to create a solid basis.’

For now, Conte’s attention is on the short term and the visit of Leicester. He knows securing that eighth straight home league win won’t be easy.

‘Tomorrow we have to face the worst team for us in this moment. Leicester are a really good team. They are in really good form. It will very, very difficult for us to win the game. We must pay great attention.’