Chelsea man­ager Conte has no wor­ries over squad’s re­silience

Bangkok Post - - SPORTS -

>> LE­ICES­TER: Chelsea man­ager An­to­nio Conte is con­fi­dent his squad can cope with a far busier Septem­ber than last year.

The reign­ing Premier League cham­pi­ons will kick off at Le­ices­ter to­day in sixth place on six points, one spot be­low West Bromwich and one above Wat­ford whilst Le­ices­ter are three points worse off and fifth from bot­tom af­ter three games.

The Le­ices­ter clash is quickly fol­lowed by Tues­day’s Cham­pi­ons League group game at home to Qarabag with Chelsea need­ing to ful­fil seven fix­tures in just 21 days, an in­tense sched­ule Conte did not have to worry about last sea­son.

But the 48-year-old Ital­ian was con­fi­dent that all the hard work he was able to put in on the train­ing ground in his first cam­paign meant his ideas were now firmly em­bed­ded in his play­ers’ minds.

“A year ago they didn’t know my idea of foot­ball, my phys­i­cal work and the anal­y­sis,” he said.

“It is eas­ier now for me and my job at this point of the sea­son. The feel­ing is a lot bet­ter if you com­pare now to this time last sea­son.”

The Le­ices­ter game also pro­vides new sign­ing Danny Drinkwa­ter with the op­por­tu­nity to make his de­but against the club that sold him for £35mil­lion (US$45.1 mil­lion) on dead­line day.

The deal was con­cluded so late that Le­ices­ter’s at­tempts to bring in a re­place­ment — Adrien Silva from Sport­ing Lis­bon — ended in far­ci­cal fail­ure.

Fifa re­fused to grant the Por­tu­gal mid­fielder in­ter­na­tional clear­ance af­ter Le­ices­ter missed the dead­line for sub­mit­ting pa­per­work by just 14 sec­onds, plac­ing the £22m move in doubt.

Silva will not face the cham­pi­ons as Le­ices­ter pre­pare an ap­peal against Fifa’s de­ci­sion but Riyad Mahrez is avail­able af­ter fail­ing to seal a dead­line-day move away.

Jamie Vardy, who has started the sea­son strongly in at­tack for Le­ices­ter, will play in the week. He has ad­mit­ted he could be tempted to leave in fu­ture to clinch more tro­phies hav­ing, like Drinkwa­ter, won the Premier League two sea­sons ago with the Foxes.

He re­jected a move to Ar­se­nal in the wake of that suc­cess.

“I’m pleased with the de­ci­sion I made,” said Vardy.

“Turn­ing down Ar­se­nal doesn’t mean I wouldn’t look at an­other of­fer.

“I want to win as much as pos­si­ble, I don’t want to only have one Premier League medal in my drawer at home — it would be an empty glass cabi­net.

“I’m con­tracted to Le­ices­ter and we’ll see how high we can go.

“Down the road, there might be an op­por­tu­nity to go to the MLS or China. It would be some­thing I’d like to ex­pe­ri­ence.

“I know it’ll in­volve mov­ing the fam­ily again but it’ll give them a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence to see dif­fer­ent cul­tures.”

Chelsea’s new sign­ing Danny Drinkwa­ter scores a goal for Le­ices­ter last sea­son.

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