Friday, 15 December, 2017

Chelsea are not title favourites - Conte dismisses champions prospects

Chelsea star breaks ranks and slams lack of transfer activity Chelsea were beaten by Arsenal on penalties in last Sunday’s Community Shield
Rita Gibson | 12 August, 2017, 05:20

Matic completed a £40 million transfer to Old Trafford at the end of last month, having been excused from Chelsea's preseason tour of the Far East when it became clear that he wanted to leave the Premier League champions in search of regular first-team football elsewhere.

Nemanja Matic knows a thing or two about winning the Premier League and has already seen enough to be confident of a Manchester United title challenge this season.

Conte has told Chelsea striker Diego Costa that he is free to leave Stamford Bridge in the summer transfer window amid interest from Atletico Madrid and AC Milan.

In addition to his hefty fee, Morata also has to deal with filling the boots of fan favourite Diego Costa. He is a great friend who is unfortunately no longer with us. Of course, the battle for the title is always against five or six teams, but Premier League is a very hard championship because you can not predict any result. I hope to be able to improve our squad.

Costa's absence, coupled with injuries to Eden Hazard and Pedro Rodriguez, means that Conte is likely to pick both Michy Batshuayi and club-record signing Alvaro Morata in his starting XI against Burnley.

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Chelsea head into the new season with a squad noticeably short on numbers thanks to several key injuries and difficulties in the transfer market, but Conte insisted that there can be no excuses for his team when the football begins. "He's playing every game from the start [in preseason] and it's very important for him to play well". We want to be competitive and we want to fight for the title again. As you know the Premier League is the main target.

"Alvaro is a really good player, he's still young despite having a lot of experience", he said.

"I think we played everything so we don't lose this game", the Serbian said after a performance that thoroughly impressed Mourinho.

"He is today very conscious of his qualities as well, which he was not always, and I personally believe he will be a very great player".

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