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Conte: We are ready

Antonio Conte says he is excited about the challenge ahead and is confident his side can get the season off to a winning start when West Ham United visit Stamford Bridge on Monday night.

The Italian was in good spirits as he conducted his first pre-match press conference at Cobham this afternoon, answering questions put to him by a packed media room.

He was immediately asked about his aims for the Blues during the coming campaign

‘Expectations for every team are very high,’ said Conte. ‘After a bad season like last year we are working very hard to be ready to start. We know this season will be very tough for every team in every game.

‘I think last season was bad for all the players, not just one, two or three. It’s important we don’t forget last season because if we remember it we have more strength. But now we have to think about the present and build a good future for Chelsea, for our fans and the club.

‘I think this league is fantastic but very tough. There are many great clubs who can fight to win the title, fantastic players with great talent. There are also good managers, it will be a great battle and I’m excited. My players are also excited. We have a good situation to fight with the others and we’re ready.’

Having already made two signings since taking charge Conte, who confirmed Bertrand Traore would spend the season on loan at Ajax, provided an update on any further new arrivals.

‘I speak every day with the club, we have a plan and we know the market is very crazy in different aspects,’ he added. ‘We must be patient to find the right solution for the team. It’s important to improve the squad but right now I’m very happy to work with these players because they’ve shown me great commitment every day and that important for me.

‘Every single club wants to improve because they want to fight for the title and I think every club adapts its transfer policy to their own ideas. Chelsea is waiting for the right solution but at this moment it’s not easy.

‘It’s a crazy transfer market because when you try to buy a player the cost is very expensive and not the real valuation, it’s a very strange situation.’

The Blues have a wonderful record on the opening day of the season having not been beaten since a reverse at Coventry City in 1998.

Looking ahead to Monday’s game itself, against an ever-improving West Ham side, Conte explained why he believes it will be a big test.

‘The match will be very tough, I’m sure about this,’ he said. ‘We face a strong team, they had a good season last year, they have a good manager and good players. They are physical, fast and have great talent.

‘Also it’s a derby and we know these type of games are very tough. But we want to play, to start the season and give our fans satisfaction. We will try to fight and do our best to win the game because it’s important to start in the right way. To start with a derby is tough but I’m excited.’