Chelsea's Antonio Conte expecting most hard season of his career

Diego Costa

Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte, has asked Barcelona to forget about replacing Neymar with Eden Hazard. I haven't a lot of time to explain a lot of these reasons.

"For sure I don't understand why the lawyer gets involved".

Chelsea insist Diego Costa has known about the club's decision to sell him since January and accuse his lawyer of making "nonsense" claims otherwise.

While Costa's lack of discipline on and off the pitch was frustrating for both Conte and Mourinho, he was central to Chelsea's title victories in 2015 and 2017 and scored 52 goals in 89 league appearances in his three years in London.

And, after transforming the Blues from a 10th-placed team to champions in his first year in charge, Conte anticipates potential for trouble this term. Conte said. "We have a small squad..."

The situation nevertheless leaves the defending champions now depending on a core squad staying fit in order to retain the title, perhaps explaining why Conte elaborated on how fortunate they'd been last season with injuries more than ever before.

Rather than take account for the loss himself, the Italian laid the burden squarely at the doorstep of Chelsea's hierarchy, and Lewis made sure to note the response was given "abruptly", while suggesting it wasn't his call.

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"I think only one player is not enough to improve our team".

"When you arrive in England you must be ready to fight big teams with big players against big coaches".

Games against Arsenal in part shaped Chelsea's title-winning season.

Chelsea have now made just four new signings in Alvaro Morata, Antonio Rudiger, Tiemoue Bakayoko and back-up goalkeeper Willy Caballero while letting up to eight first-team squad members go to other clubs or on loan, and a frustrated Conte said the hierarchy are well aware of the need to act.

Conte said: 'It was a pity to lose the game, to lose the FA Cup final against Arsenal after a really great season for us. To recover [from] his injury and to start the season with us.

Given the threat of legal intervention, a Chelsea spokesman, seated next to Conte at his press conference, said the club also felt compelled to respond.

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