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16 Dec A Brighton English Premier League
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Antonio Conte interview: Chelsea in 2017


In the New Year's Day interview, first published on the offical Chelsea website, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte talked about his brilliant first whole year with Chelsea, and what 2018 could bring for the Blues.

January transfers

Rather than hint at players Chelsea might bring in this month, Conte focused on two important players who left Chelsea last January: John Mikel Obi and Branislav Ivanovic.

‘Those players were very important because they transferred to the other players the sense of belonging at this club,’ Conte told the official Chelsea website.

‘We have lost a lot of players who wrote so much history at this club. Now we are trying to build something important with younger players. This season, we brought young players to the squad. Our average age is lower. I think we are doing a really good job.’

Building a team

Conte went on to say that creating the right team is a process.

‘We have worked very hard to improve our team and to create a fundamental base that is very important for the present, but especially for the future,’ said Conte.

‘In this situation, you must work very hard, and at the same time you must have great patience. Everyone wants to win, everyone wants to reach great results in a short time, but you must understand this moment takes time. And this is a really important moment for Chelsea.’

Finding the right formation

The Blues boss said that one of the important changes has been bringing players in that could fit the new formations, with three at the back.

‘The most important thing for a coach is to try to find in every moment the right balance for your team, offensively and defensively,’ said Conte. ‘If you want to have good results, you must have a good balance. To be too offensive is not good; to be too defensive is not good.

‘Compared to last season, we changed players. We bought two central midfielders, Bakayoko and Drinkwater. For the characteristics of our players, to play with three midfielders is a good option. For me to be able to alternate two different systems, 3-4-3 and 3-5-2, is great.

‘When we play against a big team, it’s very important to have more solidity with the three midfielders and two strikers, and to give more freedom to Eden.

‘And I am very happy because I have seen my players show great ability at adapting themselves, and changing to a system by finding new solutions and memorised play. It was great for me to understand that this other option was good, and also fantastic that my players can do it.’

Conte's message for 2018

‘I don’t want to promise we will win this or that, but my target is to put everything in to every situation, every game and every competition.

‘My message to the Chelsea fans is this: we want to give the best satisfaction to you. And I want to thank our fans. Away and at home, they push us a lot.

‘I want to say thanks for when they sing my name, too! To hear this is a great emotion for me. My promise to them is that we will give everything in every second of our life for this club.’