Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has warned his players that they must improve their teamwork or risk repeating their disastrous 2015-16 campaign.
The Blues found themselves 3-0 down by half-time against Real Madrid on Saturday in their pre-season International Champions Cup fixture. Eden Hazard managed to cut the deficit down by two when he came on in the second half to score a brace, but Conte reminded his players that individual brilliance alone will not be enough to rectify the wrongs of last season.
“I think that this match is very important for us because after this game it’s clear that we have to work together always — without the ball and with the ball — because if we think that we can’t work together when we don’t have the ball, it’s not possible for us. It’s not possible, and we risk to repeat a bad season”, the Italian said in his press conference, as quoted by ESPN.
“Today, I think we weren’t a team in defensive situations. It’s important because in the last game, I appreciated a lot our defensive situation and I told also that we can improve when we have the ball. Today, [we were] better with the ball, but bad without the ball.”
Chelsea’s performance drastically improved when Hazard and new signing Michy Batshuayi were introduced in the second half, linking up well to impress their new boss.
“I liked him [Hazard] in this position, like a forward,” Conte said.
“I think he can be a good solution for us. Also to play winger but also to play like a second forward.
“I think Batshuayi’s shape is improving,” he added.
“He’s starting to understand our idea of football, and today, I’m very happy for his commitment. He can improve a lot in the same way as the other players. I’m happy for [him].”