Antonio Conte Wants ‘High Intensity’ For New Season

Chelsea’s new head coach Antonio Conte has said that he wants the Blues to enter the new Premier League season with ‘high intensity, after his side concluded their pre-season with a 4-2 win over Werder Bremen yesterday.

The former Italy manager saw goals from Eden Hazard, Diego Costa, Pedro and Oscar give his side the win in Germany as they gear up to begin their league campaign with a match against London rivals West Ham. It will be Conte’s first competitive game as Chelsea manager, having taken over has their first permanent boss since José Mourinho was sacked last December and replaced by Guus Hiddink on an interim basis.

Speaking to the club’s official website the former Juventus player and manager said, “I want to play with high intensity, to win the ball back very soon after we lose it, to attack with the right balance. I saw positive things and many situations that we can improve. We are working on this. Now there is one week of work before the season starts”.

Chelsea look like they will be hard to beat under the Italian, having already secured pre-season wins against AC Milan and Liverpool. Conte acknowledged that the positive results are important ahead of the 2016-2017 league season. He said, “It was a good victory. Pre-season was very tough and hard in all aspects and we must be pleased to finish with a win. It’s important to win for confidence ahead of the start of the season”.

The 47-year-old was concerned by seeing his defence concede two goals, but believed that tiredness was a factor in the way they dealt with strong opposition. He said, “The team started the game in the right way and with the right intensity. There were some bad situations to concede two goals which I didn’t like, we must improve a lot, but we were tired after our pre-season.”.

The new Blues boss revealed this week that his first transfer fee was £100 and eight footballs. Signed by his local Lecce as a 13-year-old, Conte and his team-mate Sandro Morello cost the side ‘eight footballs and three of them were flat’, the Italian told the Mail on Sunday. It’s where he got his disciplinary streak from, though, with his own dad being the boss. He said, “My first team was called Juventina. My father was the owner, the coach, the kit man and everything else. He was my first master. In that period, my father was very tough – and especially with me”.

He also told the Mail that former Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti is a friend of his and the fellow Italian, who won the league and FA Cup with the Blues in 2010, encouraged him to head to Stamford Bridge. He said, “Carlo told me about the club. We spoke about people who work there”.

Chelsea’s opposition this weekend performed much better than many people thought they would last season, with Dmitri Payet a particularly impressive performer. Conte knows it won’t be an easy game to kick off a campaign in which he hopes to see his side improve on the disappointment of the last time out when they got off the their worst start to a top-flight campaign under the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’.

He’s pleased with the work so far, though, and believes that they are ready to take on the challenge posed by the Hammers when they arrive in West London on Sunday. He said, “We are working very hard to be ready. It will be difficult. We know we have some problems but we are trying to solve them. I am pleased with the attitude and behaviour of my players. It’s been good and now all of the players need a rest”.

Of the players he has got at his disposal perhaps one of the most surprising members of the first-choice XI is John Terry. The former England captain looked destined to be on his way out of the club towards the end of last season before Conte intervened to keep him at Stamford Bridge. Speaking of Terry the Italian said, “In every team there are some players with great experience, and this experience counts, if you play but also if you don’t play. John is a god example during the training sessions. He has the right attitude and the right behaviour”.