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Antonio Conte, has fired back at Arsene Wenger, saying he is ‘not looking for sympathy’ over the size of Chelsea’s squad in a swift reaction to Arsenal manager’s comments
Conte & Wenger
Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, sympathised with Chelsea coach, Antonio Conte over the size of his squad, but reckons the Blues have made their own problems by loaning out so many players.
Conte has spoken out several times during pre-season about what he perceives to be a lack of depth in his squad at Stamford Bridge, and that he is unhappy with the number of players at his disposal.
Asked if he was surprised that Conte was complaining about his squad size, Wenger had said: “Maybe, yes he has the opposite problem (to Arsenal) but if you look at the number of players that are out on loan, they can call a few back.
“I have sympathy for him. But do I feel sorry for Chelsea because they don’t have enough players? Then no.”
In a swift reaction to Wenger’s comments, Antonio Conte, said he is “not looking for sympathy” from other coaches over the size of Chelsea’s squad and defended the club’s decision to loan out so many players on the fringes of the first team this summer.
Chelsea kick off their Premier League title defence at home to Burnley on Saturday with a squad of 24 players that includes the exiled Diego Costa as well as a significant number of untested academy youngsters and Eden Hazard and Tiemoue Bakayoko, who have both missed the entirety of preseason as they recover from injuries.
Pedro Rodriguez is also unavailable for selection after failing to recover from an ankle knock picked up in Sunday’s Community Shield defeat against Arsenal, while Loic Remy is not in Conte’s plans and Kenedy and Lewis Baker are expected to leave Stamford Bridge on loan in the coming days.
Those moves will take the number of Chelsea players out on loan to 27, and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger this week claimed that he does not feel sorry for the Premier League champions because they could ease their problems by recalling some of those at other clubs.
Speaking at a news conference to preview the Burnley game, Conte said: “I’m not looking for sympathy of any coaches for this situation. This is my message. The situation is clear. I’m not looking for sympathy of the other coaches.
“If the club decide to send on loan players for their development it’s because these players are not ready to play for Chelsea.”
Chelsea have signed just four players, Alvaro Morata, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Antonio Rudiger and Willy Caballero, in a difficult summer transfer window, but Conte says that he and the club’s hierarchy remain on the same page when it comes to player recruitment.
Asked about what his squad needs before the end of August, Conte said: “I’m the coach of this team. My aim is to try to improve my players, to try to improve my team. What happens in the transfer market, the club is trying to do their best.
“My only task is to focus on the pitch, what happens on the pitch, during the training session to work with my players.”
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