'We must be realistic' - Conte unsure on Chelsea defending their title

"I like to play against Bournemouth!".

A Chelsea spokesman interrupted the questioning to dismiss the veracity of that story, but Conte went on a rant.

"I always want to test myself against the best players, so I'm actually looking forward to it".

"I'm very happy with this group".

The Blues now trail leaders Manchester City by nine points.

CHELSEA players were spotted getting some fresh air on a morning stroll ahead of their Premier League clash against Bournemouth.

The Italian continued: "You don't know me. But to win will be the ideal story and we fancy our chances". We started this season with a lot of problems: starting in the summer with Hazard's surgery, then an injury to Pedro, then two red cards for our players and an injury for N'Golo Kante with the national team, then Victor Moses. I am answering very well about these different issues.

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"I am in touch", Conte said of Ancelotti, who was sacked as Bayern Munich coach last month.

Wrapped up warm in their team tracksuits the Blues took in the sights of Bournemouth Pleasure Gardens a couple of miles away from the Vitality Stadium.

"They are top and play well with a lot of goals - but we have a lot of games to play, we will see at the end of the season".

"Carlo is my friend and I have great respect for him". It is not like I will be going out there thinking, "I want to prove this and that".

Conte said he often talks to Ancelotti, whom he played for at Juventus, but added that the pair have no need to talk about Chelsea's managerial situation.

"I think Thibaut [Courtois] needed this [result] for the confidence, but I think all the team deserve this, we did well defensively, offensively also".

  • Regina Holmes