In the second match of the preseason tour, Chelsea will be taking on Austrian club Wolfsberger AC at Wörthersee Stadion tomorrow. It will be another opportunity for the players to continue working towards full fitness and putch new coach Antonio Conte's ideas into match action.
For Conte, this was also an opportunity to handle his first true pre-match press conference as Chelsea boss, giving updates about the squad's progress and fitness in the picturesque Austrian Alps.
Conte: 'For us it's a great pleasure to stay here because it's a beautiful place with the best conditions to work.' #CFCTour— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) 19 July 2016
"[The players] are great workers and this is very important because we need to have a bit of time to go into a new idea of football, and a new method of work with different tactical, physical and mental aspects."
"It's also important to have a bit of time for me to know the players and for the players to know me. In the Euros I had a finished team. Now we are building. In this moment it's normal I have a bit of difficulty with this change because with Chelsea we are beginning our season."
"I am getting to know a lot of new players and I'm bringing them a new idea of football. We need a bit of time but I saw a lot of positive things this week. And then today Fabregas, Pedro, Cuadrado, Cahill and Azpi arrived. This is important because I need to have the complete group to work, and to transfer my ideas to all the players."
-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC
In addition to the five veteran arrivals, new signing Michy Batshuayi is has also joined up, opting to do so before the rest of his Belgian teammates. Conte commended the young striker's conditioning and his efforts at getting on the same page as everyone else.
Conte: 'Batshuayi has worked with us for two days, he's in good condition and he's working on the physical and tactical aspect.' #CFCTour— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) 19 July 2016
Yesterday, defender Kurt Zouma started participating in light training sessions with the team, having been sidelined since February with a torn ACL. Conte, who's apparently had the same injury, reminded everyone to not go too quickly too soon..
"Today he started the aerobic work for the first time. When we have a very strong situation, no [he is not involved]. We wait because we must respect the right time for him."
"Now we are preparing for him to go and train when there aren't very strong situations. He has also started to play our idea of football when we have the ball, and also without the ball."
"We know he is recovering but I know he needs more time to recover. It's important we don't push him. I had the same injury and I know from experience when the player is ready to go."
-Antonio Conte; Source: Chelsea FC
As mentioned earlier, Colombian winger Juan Cuadrado is set to get his second chance at Chelsea after spending last season on loan at Serie A champions Juventus. The 28-year-old re-joined the club today, and the manager reiterated his intentions to work with him this season.
With less than a month to go until opening day, there is still much work to do.
Conte: 'It's difficult to say where we will finish but the normality for this club is to fight for the title until the end.' #CFCTour— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) 19 July 2016