Antonio Conte believes Chelsea can emulate his former club Juventus as he looks to make them title contenders again, but warned that success will take time.
Chelsea won the Premier League in 2015 but slumped to a 10th-placed finish last season, with coach Jose Mourinho replaced by Guus Hiddink in December following an astonishing decline.
Conte arrived at Stamford Bridge this summer after leading Italy to the quarter final of the European Championship, and thinks his previous experience with Juventus has prepared him to lead Chelsea’s revival.
“Juventus hadn’t won the title for many, many years and at the start it did not appear easy,” Conte told Chelsea magazine. “Confidence was low and the players didn’t trust themselves.
“It’s important to work in that situation and I remember we worked very hard.”
Conte took over at Juve in May 2011, replacing Luigi Delneri who finished seventh the season before.
He guided the ‘Old Lady’ of Italian football to the Serie A title in his first season at the club and won two further Scudetti before resigning in 2014.
“We can see a bit of the same situation now, no?” Conte continued. “After a bad season, 10th place was no good for the players, confidence was low and the fans weren’t happy with this situation.
“But I know only one word that we must follow and that is to work, and to work very hard. If we stay together, in bad and in good situations, very, very soon we will try to go back to playing for the title.”
Conte’s reign at Stamford Bridge began with a 2-1 victory over West Ham United on Monday evening, and they continue their campaign at Watford on Saturday.
“It’s not easy, but we must try and we must find the right motivation, the right spirit to fight.”