Man Utd's £40m Matic transfer was not Conte's decision

James Ducker's XI for Telegraph Fantasy Football 17/18.
Credit
Calum Ward

James Ducker's XI for Telegraph Fantasy Football 17/18. Credit Calum Ward

Antonio Conte has conceded that Nemanja Matic's move to Manchester United is a "great loss" for Chelsea and reiterated that more signings are required for the Blues to have any hope of defending their Premier League title this season.

"I think I have for sure a good relationship with the club, with my owner", he said. At Real Madrid, certainly, he was in and out, so the main pressure for Morata is to say, 'Here I am, I'm the No. 1 striker and I can take this all on'.

"But he knows that there is a challenge there and they have supported him, they have brought three players in for good money, but he wants more".

Jeremy Wilson
Credit Calum Ward

The way Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho have been spending, the Premier League trophy should be returning to Manchester in May. He won't have had anything like it in Italy or Spain.

"We have to play Champions League".

Asked if he would start against Burnley on Saturday, Conte said: "He's working very well and starting to understand our idea of football".

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There were some promising signs last season - an opening salvo of 10 straight wins, a stunning Champions League victory over Barcelona - but City never found any consistent form.

The 20-year-old Chelsea striker is ready for the next stage of his career after scoring 26 goals on loan at Bristol City in the second tier last season.

It is also likely a reason why several of the names Chelsea are now being linked with in the final weeks of the transfer window - most notably Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Danny Drinkwater, Ross Barkley and Virgil van Dijk - are known Premier League quantities. He's a very select player who's a top, top striker, but when the position goes so far it's hard to put it back.

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"He brings aggression to United's midfield which is something I think they have been lacking".

The silver lining for Conte this transfer window appears to be beating Manchester United to the signing of Morata.

"I think they've bought well - it's just a case of numbers", he insisted. He's available, can we get him?' I think Chelsea more often than not have backed their managers and brought in the players needed.

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Expectations were sky-high when Guardiola alighted in Manchester after years of being courted by City, but a title challenge failed to materialise and his side did not make a mark in any of the cup competitions. Six teams are very strong and you must be prepared. "They've had an outflux, a lot of players have gone but majority were squad players and young players who probably won't affect the first XI that much". You have to have faith in the manager.

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