Chelsea boss Antonio Conte addresses the media in Cobham, England yesterday. Pic/Getty Images
Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte insisted yesterday he was "not looking for sympathy" over the size of his squad. The Italian led the Blues from 10th the previous campaign to the Premier League trophy last season. But with a return to the Champions League resulting in additional fixtures, the Blues' squad size appears thin.
Conte said: "I'm not looking for sympathy of any coaches for this situation. This is my message. The situation is clear. If the club decides to send on loan players for their development it's because these players are not ready to play for Chelsea."
Conte kept his counsel on Chelsea's transfer business, with the summer window open until August 31. Conte said: "It's simple. I think I'm the coach of this team. My aim is to try to improve my players, to try to improve my team. My only task is to focus on the pitch, what happens on the pitch, during the training session to work with my players. This must be my focus during this period."
The Premier League champions' campaign opens against Burnley at Stamford Bridge today. Conte added: "We are facing different problems. But we must be ready, we must be ready to try to do our best tomorrow."
One of the issues is that striker Diego Costa, last season's top scorer, remains in exile. Conte was unable to offer an update on his situation. "No news," he said.