Conte: Chelsea’s commitment is better than last season

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Antonio Conte says Chelsea’s commitment during pre-season has been ever better than last season when they won the Premier League.

The Blues begin their title defence with a home match against Burnley on Saturday amid reports that Conte is unhappy with the size of the squad and the club’s summer transfer activity.

But Italian said: “Honestly I am pleased because we are working very well with the team and this group of players and the commitment is incredible and also better than the last season.

“I am very happy because these players are working so hard. We are trying to improve.”

German defender Antonio Rudiger, Spain striker Alvaro Morata and French midfielder Timoue Bakayoko have all arrived, as has back-up goalkeeper Willy Caballero.

But with Diego Costa almost certain to leave and Nemanja Matic and Nathan Ake having been sold, as well as numerous players sent out on loan, Conte has previously expressed his concern at the lack of depth as they return to Champions League football.

“It’s simple. I am the coach of this team and my aim is to try to improve my players and team,” he said.

“My only task is to be focused on the pitch and work with my players. This must be my focus in this period.

“In the transfer market the club is trying to do their best. I don’t like to speak through the press. The club knows very well my opinion and are trying to do their best.”

Meanwhile, Pedro has been ruled out of the Burnley game because of an ankle injury.