Things didn't quite go according to plan in Antonio Conte's first match as Chelsea manager. An early goal from the hosts Rapid Vienna, followed by a late second in the second half after a poor giveaway consigned the Blues to a 2-0 defeat. Chelsea created very little and looked well below-par in terms of fitness to their counterparts who've had a month of training behind them.
Afterwards, Conte reflected on the tough yet ultimately disappointing 90 minutes.
"This is the first game for us but I knew it would be very difficult after three days of double training. They were very hard sessions, not to enjoy, all about the physical and tactical aspect. I think it was a bit normal to meet these difficulties in the game, but I don't like to lose and it's the same for my players."
Conte had praised the attitude of his players so far in training, but outside of maybe Diego Costa, there were no apparent outward signs on Saturday of any tremendous belief or fight on the pitch. Add that to the list of improvements needed for the squad.
"I think the game was very important because we can learn a lot from it. It's important to switch our minds to change. The past is not important, we must build through the work of our present and future."
"We are very happy to open the new stadium but I'm unhappy with the loss. I want to see our fans happy. We'll work very hard because we want to come back and compete for the title until the end of the season. I know there is a lot of work to do but we are ready."
-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC
Just like last summer, Chelsea start preseason with a loss. The difference is, we're not wasting time worrying about whether it's fake or real or whatnot. We didn't win, and that must improve. We didn't play exactly how the coach wanted to, and that must improve.
Conte: "But I don't like to lose. Me, and the same for my players. I think I saw some situation that I saw last season. We can learn a lot."— Dan Levene (@danlevene) July 16, 2016
Conte talking about seeing "situations" on the pitch that were characteristic of Chelsea last season is most worrying. Fortunately, we have a month to unlearn what we've learned and what's become habit.