We need time - Conte calls for patience in pursuit of long-term Chelsea success
Antonio Conte has told Chelsea's hierarchy it will take at least four years for him to have the club where he wants them to be and described last season's Premier League triumph as "incredible".
The Italian saw his side's title defence start with a poor 3-2 home defeat to Burnley, with red cards for Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas further depleting a squad stung by injuries ahead of Sunday's trip to Wembley to face Tottenham.
Conte has also regularly voiced his frustration with Chelsea's work in the transfer market, with club-record signing Alvaro Morata, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Antonio Rudiger the only major arrivals, along with reserve goalkeeper Willy Caballero.
Nemanja Matic, Nathan Ake, Juan Cuadrado, Asmir Begovic, Bertrand Traore, Christian Atsu and Nathaniel Chalobah have all departed Stamford Bridge, while there are over 20 players out on loan, to leave Conte with depleted options.
Conte claims Chelsea are in a weaker position than Spurs given Mauricio Pochettino has had time to mould this squad, and urged the club to show patience as he attempts to build the foundations for sustained success.
"I think we need time. We need time," Conte told reporters on Friday. "To try to fight for Champions League, to try to fight to be the best in the world, you need time.
"I have still got two years - this season and next season to work with this club. Then if we stay very well and we have the same vision, we continue. I don’t see any problems about the future.
"Now we have two years left, but if we have the same vision we can continue to work together. I think that I can stay in the right club at this point of my career.
"I have the vision to work. Then I repeat we have to continue to work. Sometimes slowly, slowly, to try to improve to build something important. But if you ask me how long this path is, my answer is we need time. Honestly, we need time."
Conte says throughout his career he has never found easy situations but he is ready to work, a verb he admits he uses a lot! #CFC— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) August 18, 2017
Despite the loss to Burnley, Conte insists he will continue to promote a positive mood around Stamford Bridge.
"I think that I must have a good mood. I have to transfer positivity and not negativity," the Italian added. "That’s the most important thing for the coach. And also I think that is when you put your work at 200 per cent, I think it’s enough to be calm and face the situation in the right way.
"For every coach it's important to give continuity to the club because when you arrive you don't know what you'll find. And when you understand your base you have to try to work step-by-step, year-by-year to improve this base, to make this base more solid and to build a good structure. To fight to win the title, to try to win. Last season we had a fantastic season because there wasn't this foundation or base.
"I like to be positive. Last season we started on a difficult path. Despite this we won [the title] in my first season. It was incredible. I continue to repeat this - it was incredible. But now we have started this path and we want to continue together to improve and to bring this club to have a solid foundation to stay a long time at the top and to try to fight to win the Champions League and the league.
"A club like Chelsea must have this ambition. But I repeat we need time. We must have patience to work. Now there are people working very hard to try to improve the situation. They are working for the best of the club. For this reason the fans must be happy.
"No one put a gun [to] my head and [said]: 'You win or you go away'. The only thing I can promise is work, work, work and that I will try to do my best to improve the club. Sometimes you can win but you are not building something positive for your future."