Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is relishing the prospect of facing Atlético Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday, having taken no part in the prestigious competition last season, the Italian told the Chelsea website.
Just three days after Chelsea visit the Wanda Metropolitano they will host Manchester City in the Premier League and Conte is not going to let the excitement of the Champions League overshadow the Blues’ return to domestic action.
“We have to face a tough game against a team that in the last years played always this competition with good performance and to arrive at the final twice,” Conte said. “Last season they were beaten by Real Madrid [in the semi-finals].
“We have to prepare very well for this type of game. For sure it will be a really tough game for us, but we must be excited because last season we didn’t play this competition. Now we are playing and we have to try to do our best.
“There are no injury worries. The players are fit and now it’s important to rest and recover well for the game on Wednesday and not forgetting we have another tough game on Saturday against Manchester City.”
Wednesday will also be of particular importance to star striker Álvaro Morata, the £55m summer signing returning to his hometown for the first time since leaving Real Madrid.
“Don’t forget his previous experience – he didn’t play a lot with Juventus and Real Madrid but now he has a great chance to show that he is a really good striker, a fantastic striker,” Conte added about Morata.
“He’s very young, only 24 years, and I think this is important for Chelsea. I think now he’s involved totally in our style of football, in our idea. He’s very strong and he showed he’s a really good, complete player.
”The Premier League is not easy for the striker. During the game there is a lot of physical contact and you must be prepared for this type of game because also the referee doesn’t whistle a lot. I think that’s good for the game,” the Italian said. “He adapted very well to this league but now he has to continue to work and improve because he’s only starting.”