Antonio Conte’s Chelsea should be considered among the front-runners to win the Champions League this season, according to Qarabag coach Gurban Gurbanov.

Conte was able to rest a number of regular starters against Qarabag on Tuesday night, with a rotated Chelsea XI still sauntering to a 6-0 Champions League victory at Stamford Bridge.

Goals from Pedro, Davide Zappacosta, Cesar Azpilicueta, substitute Tiemoue Bakayoko and Michy Batshuayi ensured a comfortable return to Europe’s elite after last season’s first absence since 2003-04.

Chelsea won the Champions League for the first time in 2012, and Gurbanov believes that the Premier League champions deserve to be labelled as one of the favourites to wrestle away Real Madrid’s crown this season.

In Pictures | Chelsea vs Qarabag | 12/09/2017

Speaking to reporters after the match, Gurbanov said: “The game was very difficult for us.

“Chelsea played very good. Chelsea is a favourite for the tournament.

“We made lots of errors and I accept we must play even better. But I am satisfied with the way we played.”

Conte was delighted with Chelsea’s performance, saying: “It was a good start, a perfect start for us.

“To play the first game (of the) Champions League, then to win with a good result, to score many goals, to finish the game with a clean sheet. I saw a lot of positive things tonight.

“Now we have to continue, we have to rest tomorrow and then to start to think about the next game, a strong game, a tough game against Arsenal (on Sunday).”

Additional reporting by the Press Association.