New Chelsea boss Antonio Conte admits it “won’t be easy” to bounce back after last season’s disappointments but believes the club must qualify for the Champions League.
The Blues finished tenth in the Premier League last campaign after an awful start to their title defence under Jose Mourinho and will not play in Europe this term.
The 46-year-old’s Italy side exited Euro 2016 just 12 days ago after being knocked out by Germany on penalties and the former midfielder has already taken two days training at Cobham.
Conte, who held his first press conference as Chelsea boss on Thursday afternoon, promises his team will “fight until the end” as they target the Premier League title and Champions League football.
“We know that this year won’t be easy for us because if we think last season, the 10th position, last season was a bad season,” the Italian told reporters.
“We know – me, the players, the club. We must think to the present to work very hard every day, every week, every month to be something important for the fans, because the fans need to find a team ready to fight until the end – to compete with the other teams.
“There is only one team that will win the title but we must stay there, to fight for the title, for the Champions League. Chelsea belongs to the Champions League. We must stay there.”
Conte speaking on formation, tactics and spirit… https://t.co/SOXkqRSX5C
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 14, 2016
There is bound to be huge expectations on the new Blues boss after such a disappointing campaign under his predecessors but Conte says he won’t be phased by the pressure.
“The pressure for me is not important because I was born with pressure. It is normal, because when you are a player or a manager of a great football club, like Chelsea, you must play to win,” the former Juventus boss added.
“To win the title, to fight at the end to compete with the other teams to win the title, to reach your targets. I know that this league is very, very difficult because there are six, seven teams that can win the title and, for this reason, the situation, it excites me.”