Antonio Conte, frustrated with the situation at Stamford Bridge, admitted that he would not put money on Chelsea were he a betting man.
Between Diego Costa still partying in Brazil, the sale of Nemanja Matic, and being gazumped by Manchester United for Romelu Lukaku, it has been a tough summer for the Premier League champions. Conte himself has expressed significant frustration at multiple points, and with their league season set to kick off on Saturday against Burnley, the Italian has again said the club is not in a position to win the title.
“Honestly, if you have to give your evaluation on the card it’s right. It’s right not to put Chelsea to be a favorite,” Conte admitted in his pre-match press conference ahead of the 10:00 a.m. ET match at Stamford Bridge.
[ MORE: Arsenal shows fighting spirit in 4-3 win ]
“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 to explain why he believes this, Conte refused, saying only, “I have always answered this question, not only once but twice, three times.”
Later in the press conference, while talking about young players like Andreas Christensen or Charly Musonda who have not gone out on loan, Conte gave a statement that could also be translated as frustration. “It’s not easy when you speak about pressure,” Conte said. “With me I am used to it. With young players they are not used to it. But at the right moment you have to take risks because you haven’t other possibilities.” That last part about no other choices is quite clearly the Blues manager admitting the thin squad could force him to turn towards unproven youngsters.
Despite the declarations, Conte still insists he’s happy at Chelsea, and while he may be frustrated, he’s in no way thinking about stepping aside. “My state of mind is clear,” Conte said, “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.”
And let Conte be clear, he’s not looking for sympathy. “For sure it will not be easy in this part of the season but I do not want to find any excuse for me, my staff or my players.”