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Saturday 3 December 2016

Conte is no quick fixer

Begovic calls on Chelsea fans to remain patient

It will take time for Antonio Conte to improve Chelsea. Photo: AP Photo/Ronald Zak
It will take time for Antonio Conte to improve Chelsea. Photo: AP Photo/Ronald Zak

Goalkeeper Asmir Begovic has cautioned Chelsea fans not to expect quick fixes under new manager Antonio Conte who began his tenure on a losing note on Saturday.

In the first friendly match under Conte, Chelsea, despite the presence of the likes of captain John Terry, Willian, Diego Costa and Begovic, lost 2-0 to Rapid Vienna.

The former Premier League champions endured a disappointing campaign last season, finishing 10th, and will rely on Conte's fiery touchline presence and work ethic to propel the side back to their winning ways.

"We're buying into what the manager wants us to do, we're working hard to try and improve and work in a different way," Begovic said. "It's going to take a bit of time, it's a process, but so far so good and over time we'll get better.

Message

"He (Conte) communicates very well, so he got his message across at half time and before the game. We expect to work hard, that's part of pre season. We're trying to be very disciplined. The work ethic is very strong."

Former Stoke City goalkeeper Begovic managed just four clean sheets in 17 league appearances for Chelsea last season, and was used largely as a back up to first-choice goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. The 29-year-old added that the manager had not yet held discussions about his team for next season.

"He (Conte) hasn't explained too much at all, to be honest," Begovic added. "It's just about working hard and trying to buy into what he wants us to do. I'm sure those decisions and everything else will come further down the line and we'll see what happens."

Conte has confirmed winger Juan Cuadrado will return to the club after a season-long loan at Italian champions Juventus.

Double

The Colombian, who joined Juve from the Premier League side in August, scored four goals in 28 league matches last season to help the club to a Serie A and Coppa Italia double.

The 28-year-old had made little impact in 15 Chelsea appearances since moving to Stamford Bridge from Fiorentina for an estimated £23.3million.

"Juan Cuadrado is a Chelsea player. He will come back very soon. He's in our squad, I'm very happy to have him and train him," said Conte, who coached Juve to three successive Serie A titles from 2012 to 2014.

"I wanted him when I was a coach at Juventus and he will come back very soon and train and play with us. Now, he's a Chelsea player and he'll stay with us. If something changes you'll know."

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