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Conte: Learning and improving

Antonio Conte felt our friendly against Rapid Vienna was an important game in terms of the development of his team.

The home side scored a goal in each half to win it but the Blues, playing under the guidance of the new head coach for the first time, went close on a few occasions, particularly in the second half.

Before providing his thoughts on the game, however, Conte spoke about N’Golo Kante, who signed for Chelsea from Leicester City earlier today.

The Italian believes Kante, one of the Premier League’s outstanding midfielders last season, will become a huge asset at Stamford Bridge.

‘I want to say Kante was a target and for this reason I’m very happy the club bought the player,’ he said. ‘He’s a good player. He has good technique, fantastic stamina and I like this type of player. If you want to win a team needs this type of player – Kante, Matic and Mikel – that work hard for the team.

‘We identified him, me and the club together, and I think Kante can give a lot to Chelsea, to enforce a zone which is very important if we want to play with two central midfielders. He showed last season he’s able to play with another midfielder. I think with this player we’ve reinforced the squad.

‘All together we are working to improve the squad. We know we have to but we prefer to wait and go for our targets, rather than go with emotion and take the players who don’t adapt to our idea of football. I’m also very happy about Batshuayi. Tomorrow he arrives and he will start to work with the team.

‘I talk every day with the club, it’s very important because we know what the team needs. Myself and the club are on the same line and we know what to do to improve the team. But I repeat, we prefer to wait and take the right player rather than taking one only for emotion, that’s not right for me.’

In terms of the game itself, Conte explained why he expected a tough test.

‘This is the first game for us but I knew it would be very difficult after three days of double training,’ he added.  ‘They were very hard sessions, not to enjoy, all about the physical and tactical aspect. I think it was a bit normal to meet these difficulties in the game, but I don’t like to lose and it’s the same for my players.

‘I think the game was very important because we can learn a lot from it. It’s important to switch our minds to change. The past is not important, we must build through the work of our present and future.

‘We are very happy to open the new stadium but I’m unhappy with the loss. I want to see our fans happy. We’ll work very hard because we want to come back and compete for the title until the end of the season. I know there is a lot of work to do but we are ready.’

Conte also provided some news on Juan Cuadrado, who spent last season on loan at Juventus.

‘Juan Cuadrado is a Chelsea player,’ he said. ‘He will come back very soon. He’s in our squad, I’m very happy to have him and train him. I wanted him when I was a coach at Juventus and he will come back very soon and train and play with us. Now, he’s a Chelsea player and he’ll stay with us. If something changes you’ll know.’


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