By Izuchukwu Okosi and Johnny Edward:
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has stated that he is focused on improving his squad as they prepare to face Burnley in their opening English Premier League clash on Saturday.
Conte who won the EPL title in his first season in charge of the Blues is wary of surprises this season but believes that six teams will be vying for the title this season.
Chelsea finished 10th in the table the following season they won the EPL title in 2015/16 season.
The Italian speaking to the media during his pre-match conference on Friday also responded to comments made by Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger that he should deal with his small squad by recalling loan players.
“I’m very happy because these players are working very well and so hard,”,Conte said.
“We are trying to improve. It’s simple. I am the coach of this team and my aim is to improve my players and my team. What happens in the transfer market, the club is trying to do their best. My only task is to be focused on the pitch. This must be my focus.
“My message is I am not looking for sympathy from other coaches. I think the situation is clear.”
Conte added at Friday’s press conference that his team will need to do more than their best to defend their title.
“I think the most important thing for us it to try and do out best and to put 120% in our work every day. These are the most important things for us.
“At the start of this season it’s simple to tell that in this league there are six top teams who should be fighting for the title. But you know very well that there are surprises.”
Conte then praised the quality of the opposition for their opening fixture.
“Burnley are a really good team. Last season they had a good season and we have to pay great attention tomorrow,” the Italian said.
Following the suspension of Super Eagles star Victor Moses (for the red card in the FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal in May) who plays at right wing-back for the club, Conte revealed that Antonio Rudiger is likely to start at the same position in the absence of the Nigerian.
“He’s a good player. Strong. Good personality, technique,” he said of Germany defender Rudiger.
On Diego Costa’s situation who has been frozen out of the Chelsea team,Conte responded: “No news, no news”.
Costa’s replacement Alvaro Morata is likely to start and the Conte praised the former Real Madrid striker.
“Morata has improved a lot in the last 10 days. He’s beginning to understand what I expect from him during games,” Conte said.