Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has said that he wants his Blues side to play with an aggressive style which will mark them out from their rivals next season, promising an intense style of play as the club look to retake their seat at the top table.
A disappointing 2015/16 campaign saw the Blues finish just 10th in the Premier League, costing Jose Mourinho his job back in December, and Conte appears to have nailed down the style of play he thinks can set his new charges apart.
He said: “I like it if my team plays with great aggression and high intensity. I like to see that. We train to prepare for that because I want my team to have an identity. I want it so that if you see us, you recognise ‘Oh, Chelsea are playing’.
“That is important for me, important for the club and the owner. Everywhere I have been I have worked at that. I always gave an identity to my teams. I am searching to transfer this to my players now, and I am pleased because I see a great attitude.”
The message appears to have already been instilled in the team despite Conte’s incredibly recent arrival, with Cesc Fabregas getting a little carried away with a rash challenge on Liverpool centre-back Ragnar Klavan in a friendly on Wednesday night.
Klavan came away from the tackle in one piece, although Fabregas saw red anyway, while Marko Grujic ended up in hospital with memory loss after a clash of heads with a different Chelsea player in the match.
Conte praised his team’s aggressive style – if not those specific incidents – and said: “I want to continue in this way because this is the only way to come back very soon for the title, not to speak, but with actions. Now is not the moment to talk.”
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On the red-card tackle, Conte says he is sorry for Cesc Fabregas and sorry for the Liverpool player. #CFC
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 28, 2016