Chelsea boss Antonio Conte says the season is shaping up to be the “most difficult” of his career, such is the strength of the Premier League.
The Blues begin their domestic campaign on Sunday when they face Arsenal in the Community Shield at Wembley, where they face off for the first silverware of 2017-18.
Chelsea will be looking to repeat their feat from 2006 when they defended the Premier League title under Jose Mourinho’s stewardship, but Conte expects the challenge to be even tougher than last season, when his first year in England proved hugely successful.
“There are many reasons which suggest to me that next season will be very tough, the most difficult of my career, I have this perception,” Conte said.
“In England the pressure is high, this is the strongest league in the world because there are six teams ready to fight for the title. Only one team can win it, and only three other teams can reach the Champions League.
“We want to try to fight for the title until the end but it won’t be easy. We are working very well to try to do this. The pressure is always the same. I put pressure on myself and it helps me to give my best.”
Conte was denied a first-season double by the Gunners in the FA Cup final back in May and now takes on the same side to kick off what is certain to be another exciting campaign.
He added: “It was a pity to lose the game, to lose the FA Cup final against Arsenal after a really great season for us.
“Now there is another game. We know very well Arsenal is a strong team.
“We’re waiting a game very difficult for us and want to try to start the season with a win. The same (for) Arsenal. I want to see a good game, for the players, for the people.”Euro Soccer Bonus
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