Chelsea building with youth, not ‘words or money’: Antonio Conte
Chelsea are trying to be a success by bringing players through the academy rather than splashing the cash, according to Antonio Conte.football Updated: Feb 05, 2018 14:49 IST
Antonio Conte believes Chelsea are trying to build for the future by developing young players, rather than using “words or money”.
The Italian has often been perceived as being frustrated with the Chelsea board since joining at the start of last season, with reports suggesting his transfer targets have rarely been acquired.
But it is his understanding that the club’s plan is to look towards the future, as opposed to spending vast amounts of money on star players.
The latest examples of this approach were the January acquisitions of Ross Barkley, 24, and 23-year-old Emerson Palmieri, with the pair said to have cost about £38 million between them.
“As you can see, we are working a lot also with, for example, [Ethan] Ampadu,” Conte told reporters.
“He’s only 17 years old. [Andreas] Christensen is only 21 years old. [Tiemoue] Bakayoko is only 23, [Davide] Zappacosta only 25.
“We took a lot of young players. With Christensen, we are trying to develop the young players of the academy.
“I think we are doing a fantastic job. We are trying to build something important with work – not with words or money.”
Conte also discussed Chelsea’s fixture schedule, which has been rather more hectic this season due to their return to the Champions League.
Ahead of Monday’s trip to Watford, Conte feels Chelsea have been lucky to suffer fewer injuries than other clubs, though he does not think his squad is big enough to allow for players to have the rest they require.
“If you compare to the other clubs you can see we have less injuries,” Conte added.
“The only problem this season is that we are playing a lot and our squad wasn’t big enough to give the right rest. I think we are working less than last season.
“For sure you have to change your plan, your work, when you play every three days – it’s impossible to give intensity in these two days between one game and another.
“Sometimes, when I had the possibility, I tried to give a window of little work for the players that I decided to rest.
“But in this country, with four competitions and the great intensity of every game, you have to face a season with a big squad. I think it’s very important to understand and find the best solution for the future.”