Antonio Conte led Chelsea to the Champions League last season, following their previous disappointing campaign in which José Mourinho was sacked, before Guus Hiddink took the reins sealing an unexpected 10th place.
Conte knows the competition as manager and player with Juventus and he also lifted the trophy in 1996: “Yes, I played Champions League with Juventus, but when I played with them they were not this Juventus. – he said – We were at the beginning of our path, they were not the team they are now”.
“We dropped against Bayern Munich, then we reached Europa League semi-final against Benfica. I have more experience in the competition as a player than a manager.
We must be pleased to be back and proud to be in the Champions League, for sure is very tough.
We are building something important, when you play in the competition you have try to win every game, to go step by step you need time to do this: we all start the competition in the same position”.
Conte believes Chelsea must be focused on the Premier League: “My previous experience with Champions League was in Italy, but when you face a medium team in Premier League you have to know that you risk to lose the game, the league is though here.
In England you can’t be relaxed, even if you would rest, we have to play FA Cup and League Cup games, then Champions League. We need to rotate players and they must be involved.
We are starting a path building something important, we have to go on step by step to be competitive in a short time, not in 3,4 or 5 years”.