Antonio Conte believes Everton are very close to joining what he calls the ‘elite’ group of teams at the top of the English game.
Tomorrow’s opponents visit us in good form having won their opener against Stoke and then earned a credible draw at Man City on Monday. Either side of that result they got the better of Hadjuk Split to qualify for the Europa League group stages, and the boss believes they will be a force this season and beyond.
‘There are six top teams, but Everton are very close to these top teams,’ he said. ‘In the present and I am sure in the future Everton can join this elite of teams.
‘Last season we played a really good game against Everton. We scored five goals, we created many chances, and we played really good football. But that game is in the past. The most important thing now is the present and to try to make another good performance against Everton, and try to win and get our first win at home.’
Focusing on himself, Conte explained why he is feeling more comfortable at the Bridge now than he did 12 months ago, and he also revealed he has three English lessons a week lasting two hours as he continues to master the language of the country where he works.
‘After one season you start to learn a lot of new situations, you start to live a lot of situations. Last season was totally new for me.
‘I am much more relaxed than last season because you learn to work for a new club. Last season was my first time. Now, after one year, I learned a lot from the past. For this reason, I am more relaxed and I am enjoying the situation better than last season. I am very calm.
‘Every season is tough. Maybe this season will be tougher for many reasons, also because we won last season and this season we have to play another competition. But we must ready.’