Antonio Conte says he is a ‘magician’ for predicting second season struggles

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has claimed he is a “magician” for predicting they would struggle to match the feats of last season during the current campaign.

The Italian led Chelsea to the Premier League title in his first season in charge at Stamford Bridge but they have found it tougher going this time round and sit nine points behind leaders Manchester City after eight games, going into Saturday’s game against Watford, live on Sky Sports.

League defeats to City and Crystal Palace, as well as Wednesday’s 3-3 Champions League draw with Roma, have increased scrutiny on their performances.

But Conte is refusing to buckle under the pressure and insisted they will face their struggles head on.

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“I was a magician to anticipate it,” said Conte, who was forced to dismiss rumoured unhappiness at his training methods. “But, for sure, I’m a person who is not afraid to face the difficulties.

“Now we are in October and we have to think about improving the present.

“Don’t find excuses. Tell always the truth. If you always tell the truth, you can’t be afraid of anything.”

Watch a preview of Saturday's Premier League action, including Man City v Burnley and Huddersfield v Man Utd

Chelsea last lost three consecutive Premier League matches in autumn 2015 when Jose Mourinho’s struggles continued in his second spell at the club before he eventually departed in December 2015.

Conte appreciates the precarious nature of management, not least at Chelsea, but insisted he is giving his all to ensure success for Chelsea and their supporters.

“If I feel the pressure? I think every coach, every manager has to feel the pressure,” he added.

Manager Antonio Conte believes Chelsea are working 70% less this year due to their tough schedule

“When I go to my house I’m happy because I know in every moment I put all myself in my job for this club, for the fans, for my players.”

Watch Chelsea v Watford on Saturday. Coverage begins on Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Main Event at 11:30am.

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