Conte seeking reinforcements to meet City challenge
Chelsea manager describes leaders’ start to the season as ‘something incredible’
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte: “If my club ask me what I need to catch them up then I will answer, but in a private way.” Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA
Antonio Conte has described Manchester City’s start to the season as “something incredible” and said he is waiting for Chelsea’s hierarchy to ask him what is necessary for the Premier League champions to catch the current leaders.
Chelsea find themselves 11 points behind City going into their home game against Swansea City on Wednesday and, having suggested after Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Liverpool that the club needed to enter January’s transfer market in order to get anywhere near Pep Guardiola’s side, the Italian has now called on those above him to seek out his advice in regards to exactly which players need to come in.
“I think about this topic but it is better if my club ask me what I need to catch them up then I will answer, but in a private way,” said Conte, who has already voiced his frustrations with Chelsea’s dealings in the transfer market in the close season.
Explaining in more detail, the Italian said: “If one day the club try to ask me something about this topic, I can give my opinion but at the same time I am very happy to work for this club with these players. The club knows very well we are trying to build something important for the present and for the future.”
For now Conte said Chelsea’s first target is to overtake Manchester United, who are second. “[Considering] the problems we had at the start of the season we are doing our best,” he said.
“If you leave Manchester City out of the table there is [United] and we are three points behind. City are doing something incredible but we have to continue to improve our work with our team and try to do our best.
“We have to look at ourselves and not the others. Now our target must be to see the team that is before us. Our first target is to try and catch [Manchester United] up and, if we are able to do this, then we can see the team who is staying before us.”
Conte would not be drawn on plans to strengthen the squad in the transfer window. “Now is not the right moment to talk about this topic,” he said. “We must be focused to go game by game and go with my players to take as many points as possible. To try to reduce this gap to Manchester United and then we have to try to do this with Manchester City.”
Chelsea will be without the services of David Luiz, who had only just returned to the Stamford Bridge squad after being dropped by Conte. The central defender was on the bench at Anfield but the manager revealed yesterday that the Brazilian had since suffered a knee injury. – Guardian service