Antonio Conte thinks Arsenal can be a rival not only in the Community Shield today but in the title race as well.
The Italian manager also praised Gunners coach Arsene Wenger ahead of today’s derby at Wembley:
“Arsenal is a potential rival this season because I consider Arsenal one of six teams ready to fight to win the title and I consider Arsene Wenger to be one of the best coaches,” the Chelsea boss claimed.
“He is a very good coach and he has had a lot of time to build his team and his squad, and I think he is the right choice for them. I’m not surprised he stayed because he is one of the best in the world and Arsenal is one of the best teams.”
Conte repeated that his guys have to be aware that the starting campaign will be tougher than the last one, where Chelsea were Champions:
“After a season, it’s important to understand what were the positive things and what were the negative things. This is the situation you need in order to improve and make your team stronger.
“I think, for sure, the positive thing was our formation, our system, because we found the right balance offensively and defensively and it was very important for our season.
“We have to continue to work with our players on specific situations, both offensively and defensively, to try to find a new attack, or a new tactical situation with our defensive line, whether we want to defend higher or lower.
“After a season I think it’s right to review everything to improve your team in a tactical and physical aspect and to change something.”
Conte also feels he has improved as a coach after one year in England and he is now prepared for Chelsea rivals to give everything to prevent the Blues from reclaiming the Premier League crown.
“To be coach for a great team in England is great, but also gives you a lot of responsibility. You know that when you arrive in England, you must be ready to fight with big teams, with big players against big coaches. This league has made me better than before, I am sure about this.
“In England, you win the title and the next season the teams prepare to fight you with all their strength. They go to the transfer market, they try to improve and it is very difficult to repeat the success of the season before.”