Conte says Chelsea face ‘big challenge’

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Chelsea boss Antonio Conte says playing three tough fixtures in the space of eight days will be a big test for his squad.

The Italian was eager to strengthen his squad in the summer transfer window with the club returning to Champions League action this season.

Willy Caballero, Antonio Rudiger, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Alvaro Morata, Danny Drinkwater and David Zappcosta arrived.

But Conte is concerned how the Blues will cope in the next eight days, with a European tie against Atletico Madrid coming in the middle of league fixtures against Stoke City and Manchester City.

“This season it will be a big challenge for us, to face each competition with our squad and try to play every three days,” Conte said at a news conference on Friday.

“We have Stoke and two really important games with Atletico and against Manchester City.

“This type of situation will be very important for us to face this type of situation in the right way. It won’t be easy to have these games, so strong and tough games, very close.”

Conte added that he expects to call upon Chelsea’s youngsters more as the season progresses.

Kenedy and Charly Musonda both scored in this week’s 5-1 thrashing of Nottingham Forest in the EFL Cup.

“I was pleased to see this type of performance from Charly and Kenedy and for sure these are two players with good prospects,” Conte said.

“I think they will stay with us and if they stay in our squad it means we trust them and they have to continue in this way.

“In the last game I felt a good atmosphere in the changing room – a good link between young players and old players.

“I think that is the right way because the season is very long and for sure I have to give opportunities to these players to show they are learning and are ready to help us.”

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