Antonio Conte has challenged his League-topping players to make a name for themselves in the Champions League and he also made known Roman Abramovich’s goal upon his emergence as manager, which was to lead the team to Europe top-tier.
Chelsea’s aim at West Ham United on Monday night would be to triumph and gain more points to move 10 points ahead of the League contenders. Their promotion to the Champions League now a certainty. The Blues, last season, did not make it to the European competition, a rare occurrence during the time of Abramovich and Conte now confesses he miss the action at that level.
“For me and my players, yes, the Champions League must be an appointment for us every year,” said Conte, who won the European Cup as a Juventus player in 1996. “It must be our home, the Champions League.
“For this reason, we are putting our strength into playing in the Champions League next season. It’s a great competition for every single player, every single club and manager, and we want to reach it, stay in it and try to fight to win it. But to win the title and find a place to play the Champions League is not easy.
“We started our season aiming to fight until the end to win the title and to be in the right position to go into next -season’s Champions League. It wasn’t easy to start the season and know six strong teams would be fighting for the title and the Champions League. Of those six, two won’t play in the competition next season. They have to go into the Europa League.”
Conte has been spotted occasionally at Champions League games this season, the recent one being Manchester City’s 5-3 victory against Monaco in the last round of 16. “Because I wanted to breathe it in, the right atmosphere and feel this type of game,” he said.
Chelsea’s interest in Monaco midfielder Tiemoué Bakayoko remains strong but they would come against Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain as they have both shown interest in the midfielder.
The League leaders expect the game at West Ham to be very challenging one and have been preparing for the big day.