Conte: Morata's condition needs to improve

Getty Images

Alvaro Morata must improve his physical condition to be ready for the new Premier League season, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has said.

Club-record signing Morata made his first start for Chelsea in a 2-1 International Champions Cup defeat to Inter in Singapore on Saturday, with Stevan Jovetic and Ivan Perisic on target for the Serie A side before Geoffrey Kondogbia's comical own goal.

The striker, who joined from Real Madrid for a reported £70 million ($115 million) fee, started on the left of a front three with Michy Batshuayi playing down the middle, but the Spain international struggled to make an impression.

Conte accepted Morata has work to do on his fitness, with the Community Shield against Arsenal set to start Chelsea's competitive campaign on 7 August (AEST).

"Morata is just starting to train with us," Conte told reporters. "He has to improve his condition a lot to adapt quickly into our team.

"He is working well but it has been only five days. Today he tried to do his best but for sure he has to improve."

Chelsea's pre-season tour of Asia saw Conte's men defeated twice, the Premier League champion having previously lost 3-2 to Bayern Munich, and the Italian suggested a tight schedule affected results.

But Conte understands the pressure he is working under, with Chelsea having sacked Jose Mourinho seven months after winning the title in 2015.

"I think that we played against two strong teams, Bayern and Inter, in a period that is an important period where we are working very hard," Conte said. "To play three games with the same players, they are tired, very tired, because we played three games with the same players.

"We know it will be difficult in the new season. Two years ago the team ended the league in 10th place and we want to try to avoid this. Two coaches [Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti] were sacked after they won the league so for sure I want to avoid it.

"We are working very hard and I hope to find the best solution in the future. We have a lot of young players and it is necessary to try to improve them."

After the arrival of midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, Nemanja Matic has been linked with a move to Manchester United, but Conte would not be drawn on talk of a possible deal for the Serbia international.

"I do not know anything [about Matic]," Conte said. "You have to ask the club, I do not know anything about this."