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Chelsea's title defence will be my toughest test yet: Conte

Chelsea's title defence will be my toughest test yet: Conte”

Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte, has asked Barcelona to forget about replacing Neymar with Eden Hazard.

"This league has made me better than before, I am sure about this".

"Now is not the right moment for Chelsea to spend such a lot of money for one player because we need a lot of players and it is important to divide this amount of money to buy many players".

Costa was left out of Chelsea's pre-season tour of Asia and has been training away from the rest of the first-team squad since revealing the contents of a text message exchange with Conte at the end of last season.

And, after transforming the Blues from a 10th-placed team to champions in his first year in charge, Conte anticipates potential for trouble this term. "I'm sure about this", Conte said.

"You have six teams ready to fight and to win the title".

Following last September's 3-0 loss at the Emirates Stadium, the Italian switched to a 3-4-3 formation and the Blues won 13 successive Premier League games.

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Conte, whose side begin their Premier League title defence against Burnley next Saturday, said: "I haven't great patience".

The situation nevertheless leaves the defending champions now depending on a core squad staying fit in order to retain the title, perhaps explaining why Conte elaborated on how fortunate they'd been last season with injuries more than ever before.

Chelsea have described claims that manager Antonio Conte is forcing striker Diego Costa out of the club as "just nonsense".

"If I don't feel the pressure, then I put myself under pressure", he said. "We want to try to start the season with a win".

BBC Sport reported the Red Devils paid £40 million to sign Matic on a three-year contract, a fee that, in today's market, could prove to be of extreme worth if it opens up Mourinho's tactical possibilities in midfield.

Eden Hazard (broken ankle) and Tiemoue Bakayoko (knee) are Chelsea's only injury absentees.



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