Conte hails Chelsea’s ‘perfect start’

Antonio Conte labelled Chelsea’s return to the Champions League “perfect” after his side defeated Qarabag of Azerbaijan 6-0 in their Group C opener.

Strikes from Pedro, Davide Zappacosta, Cesar Azpilicueta, Michy Batshuayi, substitute Tiemoue Bakayoko and an own goal gave Chelsea a winning return to Europe as they equalled their joint biggest ever win in the competition.

“It was a good start, a perfect start for us,” Conte said. “To play the first game [of the] Champions League, then to win with a good result, to score many goals, to finish the game with a clean sheet. I saw a lot of positive things tonight.

“Now we have to continue, we have to rest tomorrow and then to start to think about the next game.”

Conte added that with seven games this month, he will need to rotate his squad.

“To play in the Champions League it means the coach trusts you. My message tonight was this: I trust all my players, not with only words, but with facts.

“If we think like last season to play with only 13 players we are crazy.

“We have to improve all these players to try and create a good competition, a positive competition, between them. It’s very important.”

Meanwhile, Qarabag coach Gurban Gurbanov said he was happy with his team’s performance despite the heavy defeat.

“The game was very difficult for us. Chelsea played very good. Chelsea is a favourite for the tournament,” he said.

“We made lots of errors and I accept we must play even better. But I am satisfied with the way we played.”