Antonio Conte has stated he intends to turn Chelsea into a blazing inferno. He said this the moment he took over as manager.
The Italian manager was introduced to the press, for the first time on Thursday. He was appointed Mourinho’s successor.
Chelsea finished 10th on the table, their worst finish following a title defence. And Mourinho lost his job in the process.
They will now aim to return to the summit of the table under Conte in a season in which Pep Guardiola also arrives in the English top flight and Mourinho takes charge at Manchester United.
“First and foremost, I felt very emotional about coming to Chelsea and it feels incredible,” Conte told reporters.
“I am aware the league will be very competitive and I hope the winners of the Premier League next season deserve it.
“I think we’re underrated but I hope we can surprise people. I hope there is a small flame flickering that can grow into a blazing inferno.”
While admitting that the title race will be demanding, Conte set qualifying for the Champions League as a minimum target for his team.
“The fans need to find a team ready to fight until the end, and to compete with the other teams,” he added.
“Then, I know, that there is only one team who wins the title. But we must stay there at the end of the season, to fight for the title and be there for the Champions League.
“Chelsea belongs in the Champions League, and we must stay there.”