Conte explains XI shakeup in Champions League thumping of Qarabag

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Antonio Conte wants to Chelsea pour it on this season, and knows he’ll need a deep squad to pressure as much as possible.

Following a 6-0 win over Qarabag to start the Blues’ UEFA Champions League group stage campaign, Conte explained that his club was not going to sit back despite making five big changes to the XI.

[ MORE: Match recap ]

“Our style of football is always like this, to push from the start to the end. We are not good at managing a game and for this reason I prefer to continue to press,” Conte said.

Well that’s a humble thing to say, as we’re pretty sure Chelsea can manage a game as well as most teams. But Conte dug more into his process by talking about why names like Davide Zappacosta, Tiemoue Bakayoko, and Michy Batshuayi — all goal scorers Tuesday — will be critical to the team’s hopes.

From ChelseaFC.com:

“I wanted to give a good chance to Michy, and also to (Andreas) Christensen. To play in the Champions League means the coach trusts you. My message tonight was this: I trust all my players, not only with words but with facts.

“For the first game in the Champions League I decided to start with rotation. Also because we have to start the process to improve our players. If we think we can play with 13 players like last season, we are crazy. Instead, we have to improve our players and try to create a good competition between them. A positive competition is very important.”

Qarabag is by far the easiest home night of Chelsea’s group stage, and it will be interesting to see how Conte chooses his starters on the match days before and after UCL nights with Roma and Atletico Madrid.