Antonio Conte has admitted Chelsea’s transfer business will be rendered irrelevant if his team fail to master the basics before the Premier League kick-off.
The Blues were punished for some sloppy play in a dire first-half display against Real Madrid in Michigan on Saturday evening as Zinedine Zidane’s side won 3-2 on the night.
Marcelo plundered two early goals to put Madrid in the driving seat and the ease at which he was allowed to dance his way through the Chelsea defence will worry Conte.
Conte is known for his tactical discipline and is determined to whip his new team into shape and eradicate the mistakes which saw the club struggle so badly last season.
N’Golo Kante, a summer buy from Leicester City, will add energy to the midfield and the Frenchman is not afraid of doing the dirty work Conte is demanding from the Blues.
The France international has begun training with his new team tbut was not ready to feature at the Big House and Chelsea’s display showed just how crucial he could be.
Ex-Italy head coach Conte still desires more signings and Chelsea remain interested in striking a deal for their former striker Romelu Lukaku with a stubborn Everton.
But the Stamford Bridge supremo insists no amount of signings will mask simple errors like those we saw in Michigan as he bids to return the west Londoners to the top.
“I don’t want to speak about players of other teams,” said Conte when Lukaku’s name was put to him at the weekend.
“The transfer market is not the most important thing.
“The important thing is to build a team - a team that plays in good and bad situations, concentrates and works together.
“If one, two or three players don’t want to work without the ball then it is possible we will have another bad season.”
While Lukaku continues to be mentioned as a possible Chelsea recruit, question marks remain over the future of Diego Costa with Atletico Madrid keen for a reunion.
Costa is nursing a back injury and missed the defeat to Real and Conte was unable to offer any concrete assurances that the striker will remain at the Bridge next term.
“I can say today that Costa is a Chelsea player,” explained the Blues head coach.
“He didn’t play in this game because of injury and if he solves this injury and I see him in training and he is in good shape, then it can be possible to see him in our next game against Milan.
“I speak for today and today Costa is a Chelsea player. Tomorrow, if you ask me if Costa will remain with us, I don’t know.”