Blues boss agrees with gloomy pundits, while Pep Guardiola says his Manchester City side must handle pressure of being favourites
ANTONIO CONTE has told Chelsea fans not to bet on his team retaining their Premier League crown.
The defending champs have already been written off by the pundits — despite winning the title with a massive 93 points.
And Conte agrees with that gloomy assessment following a summer of frustration.
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The Blues boss, whose side host Burnley on Saturday, said: “On paper now, it’s right not to put Chelsea as favourite.
“Last season, not one person believed Chelsea would win the title. This season, at this moment, I agree with people who think this.”
Manchester City have been installed as title favourites after splashing a whopping £218million on new talent this summer.
But boss Pep Guardiola said: “Last season we were, too, and finished 15 points behind. I was confident last season, too. We have to deal with that and handle that.
“We are going to see at the end of the season what happens, knowing how difficult it is.”
Conte is struggling to name 18 players for the clash against Sean Dyche’s Clarets after failing to get all of his summer signings.
But the Italian insists it will be no excuse for a poor start.
Conte said: “For sure it won’t be easy for us at this part of the season.
“But I don’t want to find any excuses for me, my staff or for my players.
“We have got to fight and try to win with the players we have available.
“It’s not important who is injured, what matters most is to give 100 per cent and do our best to win the games.
“The season is starting now and we have to be ready to go. I hope we will all see the real Chelsea right from the first game.”
By contrast, Guardiola has spent more during this window than he did in his THREE YEARS at Bayern Munich — and that brings its own pressure.
His star-studded side launch their season at Prem new-boys Brighton in Saturday’s late kick-off, with Guardiola insisting: “It’s the same pressure as I had last season.
“We are here to win games and titles. I am honest in my job. I will do my best like I did last season. If the club decides ‘he is not able’, they are going to take a solution.
“I feel the same pressure as at Barcelona when I arrived.”
The Spaniard insists his transfer splurge on six new faces is a one-off and called the current level of spending across Europe “unsustainable”.
He said: “Sooner or later it’s going to finish.
“It started with Real Madrid and Ronaldo going for £80m and then Bale for £85m. And everything went more expensive.
“Now with Neymar. But it is going to finish, it is not sustainable.
“In the next three or four years Manchester City will buy one, two, maybe three players. But not what happened this summer.
“We needed to do that because it was one of the oldest teams in Europe, not just the Premier League, and we need to change it.”
And Guardiola reckons City may actually have SAVED money by making their moves early.
Bernardo Silva and Ederson signed in the first few weeks of the window, followed by Kyle Walker, Douglas Luiz, Danilo and Benjamin Mendy.
Guardiola insisted: “The fact we signed earlier helped us avoid players who are so expensive now.”
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