Conte: EFL Cup Just As Important As The League

Chelsea’s new head coach Antonio Conte has confirmed that he intends to take tomorrow night’s English Football League Cup match against Bristol Rovers every bit as seriously as if it were a Premier League game.

Chelsea have won their opening two league fixtures by two goals to one, with Diego Costa scoring the winning goal on both occasions. Each time many pundits believed that the Spaniard was lucky to still be on the pitch after infringements that could easily have seen the fiery forward shown two yellow cards by the match referee.

The Blues finished tenth in the Premier League last time out and were knocked out of this competition, which was known as the League Cup then, in the fourth round by Stoke City. the former Juventus player and manager has already got them off to a better start than his predecessor José Mourinho, however. The self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ only won of his first five games in charge during the last campaign and was sacked by December.

Tasked with seeing the Blues return to the top end of the table, Conte has won his first two fixtures in the English top-flight. Chelsea beat West Ham at Stamford Bridge on the opening day of the new season before seeing off Watford at Vicarage Road at the weekend. Now he’s preparing for his first taste of cup football in his new adopted country.

It’s believed that the Italian is planning to make a few changes to his starting line-up for the visit of Bristol Rovers. Michy Batshuayi, who was signed from Marseille for £33 million in July, is set to make his first competitive start for the club after he scored the equaliser against the Hornets on Saturday.

The former Italy national team manager does not expect the changes he makes to weaken his side, however, and is determined to ensure they do not lose their winning mentality. He said, “Losing always leaves sad things in you. You can lose your confidence and, for this reason, it was important to win these two games because you can continue to trust in the work and raise the confidence of the players. For these reasons it was important to start in the right way for all of us. Now we must continue and we have a great chance to continue in the next game at home”.

Batshuayi joined Cesc Fabregas on the bench for both of Chelsea’s opening fixtures and the pair of them played significant parts in the Blues’ wins in each game. That’s why Conte is considering giving them a start, with Victor Moses also keen to show his new manager what he can do having not been given much of an opportunity under Mourinho.