A frustrated Antonio Conte has admitted that Chelsea do not deserve to be among the favourites for the Premier League title as things stand, despite coming into the season as reigning champions.
The Blues have failed to add depth to their squad so far this summer, with reports suggesting that Conte is becoming increasingly agitated about their failure to build a group of players who can deal with the demands of European football.
Speaking to the press on Friday, he admitted: “Honestly, if you have to give your evaluation on the card (on paper) it’s right. It’s right not to put Chelsea to be a favourite. It was the same last season. Not one person believed Chelsea would win the title. This season, in this moment, I agree with these people who think this.”
When asked why he was so pessimistic about his side's chances, he alluded to their lack of summer strengthening, saying: “Why? I have always answered this question, not only once but twice, three times.”
Expect Michy Batshuayi to lead the line today. Antonio Conte: "We worked very hard with him last season. I think he's adapted to our style." pic.twitter.com/1diGt3o04M— Kristof Terreur 📰 (@HLNinEngeland) August 12, 2017
He did insist, though, that he was still fully focused on defending the club's Premier League title this season irrespective of any other concerns.
“In my career," he said, "I worked always with great pressure and, I repeat, it’s normal to have this type of pressure, the most important thing is to face the pressure in the right way and sometimes you are more serious, sometimes you laugh, but it’s important to have the habit to face the pressure.
“My state of mind is clear, and at the moment I signed a new contract, and then I decided to stay, to work for this club, and then to try and give every day 120% in the work for my club.“For my players, yeah, then, the situation is very clear and I’m happy to do this job, and I’m trying… I’m trying, no, I’m doing my best every day.”