Premier League: Chelsea boss Antonio Conte says Alvaro Morata must improve his fitness ahead of season
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte believes record signing Alvaro Morata still has plenty of work to do ahead of the new campaign after the Spanish striker made a low-key debut start for the English champions against Inter Milan in Singapore on Saturday.
Singapore: Chelsea manager Antonio Conte believes record signing Alvaro Morata still has plenty of work to do ahead of the new campaign after the Spanish striker made a low-key debut start for the English champions against Inter Milan in Singapore on Saturday.
Morata joined up with his new team on Monday, playing the last 30 minutes in a defeat to Bayern Munich a day later, and the former Real Madrid forward was unable to make an impact before he was withdrawn after an hour against Inter.
The Italian side beat Chelsea 2-1 to win the International Champions Cup Singapore tournament.
"Morata has just started training with us and has only been able to improve slightly in that time," Conte said of Morata, who British media reported cost Chelsea 70 million pounds ($91.93 million).
"He has a long way to go with his physical condition to get up to speed with the style of football we play. He is working very well and today he tried his best but he still has plenty of improving to do."
Conte's side have looked a little short of match fitness in Singapore and the Italian is determined to ensure his squad will be better prepared for the new season than former manager Jose Mourinho's team were after they won the 2014-15 title.
"We know it will be difficult next season and we will try and avoid what happened to Mourinho's side at the start of 2015. Two years ago Chelsea finished 10th and that cannot happen again," Conte told reporters.
The Italian will also be hoping he can add depth to his side ahead of the season opener against Burnley on Aug. 12 as he bids to avoid the fate of Mourinho and Claudio Ranieri, who were both fired the season after they won the Premier League.
"The coaches of the previous two champions – Chelsea and Leicester – both lost their jobs and we are working very well to find the best solutions and use them," Conte said.
"We have a lot of young players and it is necessary to try and develop them."
Steven Gerrard's side were trailing by two goals in the closing stages at Villa Park before Coutinho worked his magic just days after arriving on loan from Barcelona.
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The Egypt international has fewer than 18 months remaining on his current deal and has reiterated whether he stays or goes remains in the hands of Liverpool.