Conte relishes European task

11 September 2017 11:08:58 UK

Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte says he is unconcerned by his side not being fancied in some quarters to challenge for Champions League glory.

The Blues begin their campaign at home to Azerbaijan champions FK Qarabag on Tuesday evening, with Conte and his squad aiming to make up for having missed out on the competition altogether last season.

We have to only focus on the pitch and try to do our best,

Antonio Conte

However, with the current English champions 12121/1 to win the competition, Conte is aware that some pundits do not feel the Blues are primed for a crack at winning a second Champions League crown.

The Italian remains unruffled by that situation, telling the club's official website: "We are excited for the Champions League and we are looking forward to playing this game.

"My job is to think only on the pitch. It is important to work with my players to try to do our best. Don't forget at the start of last season, not one person thought that Chelsea could win the league.

"It is not important for me if somebody is saying we are not favourites or we are not so strong to play in the competition. We have to only focus on the pitch and try to do our best."

The Blues are 1/6 to defeat Qarabag at Stamford Bridge and 5/1 to claim a 3-0 victory, with the hosts likely to give a run-out to fit-again forward Eden Hazard.

The Belgium international featured as a late substitute in the 2-1 weekend win over Leicester City, having recovered from ankle surgery which delayed his start to the new season.

And Hazard is determined to try and help his club challenge for European glory, adding: "You want to play these kinds of games, because every time you play in the Champions League it's a big game and everybody is watching you.

"I have won the Premier League, I have won the title in France, I have won cups, but big players always want to win the Champions League.

"I think now it is time to win this. We have a good squad, we have a good manager, so we are ready for it."

View all Soccer betting