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Conte: Spirit and commitment

Antonio Conte is pleased to be able to count Diego Costa among his squad for the start of the season and sees similarities between the striker's passion and his own.

The Spanish international is one of Conte's options to lead the Chelsea attack as we open our 2016/17 campaign against West Ham United at Stamford Bridge and he is sure that if Diego Costa and the rest of the team can harness their passion then the performances will follow.

'I like the spirit of Diego Costa because he always shows great passion,' said Conte. 'Me, I am the same, I have great passion for football. He doesn't want to lose and I like this passion and want this passion in the team.

'It's important to have passion for your work, for football, and that passion helps you to get over difficulties. I like that he has passion, I like that he has commitment, I like that he works for the team. I ask for this and I demand this from him.

'I ask not just him, but all the players, for the right attitude, the right behaviour, the right commitment. It's important that when we play, the players play our football.'

However, Conte is also thankful to be able to call on Diego Costa for his quality as a footballer, but sees it as his duty to not only help the striker get back to his form of 2014/15, but to improve even further in the future.

'For me he is an important player and he played a fantastic season two years ago when Chelsea won the title. Diego Costa is a great player and I know that he is fantastic finisher, but I think that Diego can still improve a lot. He is a fantastic player now, but he can improve a lot and I hope for this.

'I try to improve all my players – it's not important for me if they are the best players or the young players – and now I'm seeing a good attitude from Diego to work to improve in different situations. Diego can give a lot to this team and I'm sure that he will have a good season.

'This is not only the situation for Diego Costa. I think all the players can improve and my commitment, my work here, is to win, but also to improve my players. I think that the coach must improve his players under different aspects and this is my job – to improve my players and to try to transfer my idea of football.'