Chelsea boss Antonio Conte admits he is not relaxed ahead of his side’s Premier League opener on Monday.
Fronting the media before his side faces West Ham, the 47-year-old Italian showed an already impressive command of English, but noted there is an element of nervous excitement with the upcoming season.
“I am not very relaxed. When you start a new season, it is a fantastic experience because for me this is the first time I have managed a new team in a new league in a new country,” Conte said.
“It is a fantastic challenge for me. For this reason I am not that relaxed. I know we have to do a lot of work to improve but we have started and I am very happy to start.”
Following a disappointing season for the club last time out, Conte said that while he is looking forward to the challenge, he is working to rebuild the confidence of a side that went from champions to relegation contenders within six months.
“I think last season was bad for all the players. Now it is important to think for the present,” he explained.
“I know the players are the same as the last season but two years ago these players won the title. It is important to find the right confidence.
“This team lost their confidence from a bad season. The atmosphere can change but my experience as a former player helps me understand the right way.”
Conte has experience in the field of rebuilding, notably with his past three positions.
After achieving promotion back to Serie A within a season for Siena, Conte helped restore Juventus into a European force alongside Andrea Agnelli and Pavel Nedved.
Then, following Cesare Prandelli’s departure in the fallout to a disappointing World Cup in 2014, Conte gave a depleted Italy identity in its run to the quarter-finals at Euro 2016.
However, Chelsea’s plans in the transfer market have not entirely come to fruition this off-season, with the club failing to land Radja Nainggolan and Kalidou Koulibaly.
Conte nevertheless hinted the club will continue to be active until the end of the transfer window.
“I speak every day to the club. We have a plan. We know this transfer market is very crazy. It is important to find the right solutions and improve the squad,” he added.
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