Saturday 18 January 2020

Antonio Conte preparing for frustration ahead of transfer deadline

Antonio Conte is still on the look-out for new signings
Antonio Conte is still on the look-out for new signings

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte fears he could be left frustrated in his bid to strengthen the Blues squad before the transfer window closes.

Conte has brought in big-money signings in the shape of midfielder N'Golo Kante and forward Michy Batshuayi this summer but has yet to add the defensive reinforcements he desperately needs.

The Blues have long been linked with Kalidou Koulibaly but have been unable to lure him away from Napoli, while AC Milan say they have knocked back a bid for Alessio Romagnoli.

Conte admits his current squad is not deep enough and with Wednesday's transfer deadline looming the Italian knows time is running out.

"I must be honest, I think we'll have a problem to reach our targets," he said.

"I hope, through this transfer market, to improve the squad but we understand our targets are very difficult to reach.

"I think most important thing is to work to improve the squad and improve your players. You know that when you start the season it is already very tough.

"It's important to have many players to face these situations, but this market is very crazy and we are seeing that it's very difficult to reach our targets.

"I've been working with these players for only 40 days and we know we can improve a lot, but we also it's important to have the right number of players in the squad to face all the other teams.

"We know Chelsea is a great team and a great team must fight to the end for the title. But also we know last season the players were 10th. Not fourt h, fifth or sixth, 10th! Don't forget this."

Chelsea this week did manage to sign goalkeeper Portuguese goalkeeper Eduardo from Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb, but Conte was quick to point out that did not signal the imminent departure of second-choice keeper Asmir Begovic.

"The situation is very clear," he added. "We have three good goalkeepers now; first (Thibaut) Courtois, second Begovic, third Eduardo."

Chelsea host Burnley on Saturday with Conte warning his side to be wary of the counter-punches the Clarets used so effectively in beating Liverpool last weekend.

"It's incredible as only one year ago people were paying attention to the possession ball. But against Liverpool Burnley had 25 per cent and Liverpool had 75 per cent, and yet the result is 2-0 to Burnley!

"So for this reason I told my players to pay attention. I hope the team will push to win. This is the English league and every game is very tough.

"Every game you must face with great attention and you must understand that if you don't have the right attention, anything can happen.

"Burnley are a very solid team in defence and always waiting to counter-attack with two very good forwards. We must pay great attention when we are attacking, there is the danger."

Chelsea will hand midfielder Willian a fitness test after he resumed training following a calf injury.

PA Media

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