Antonio Conte to be regular Cobham visitor before assuming control

Antonio Conte is expected to be a regular presence at Chelsea’s training ground before taking up his role as head coach in July.

Antonio Conte to be regular Cobham visitor before assuming control

The 46-year-old Conte was this week confirmed as Jose Mourinho’s permanent successor and will take charge once Italy’s European Championship campaign has concluded this summer.

Conte, who led Juventus to three successive Serie A titles, is expected to visit the Blues’ training base in Cobham to get to know his squad in the remaining weeks of the season so he can hit the ground running after Euro 2016.

Chelsea won the Premier League last season but are 10th entering this weekend’s fixture at Swansea, their hopes of Champions League qualification over.

But interim boss Guus Hiddink maintains Conte’s arrival as head coach can ensure the Blues keep their best talent — including striker Diego Costa — and attract key signings needed to restore Chelsea to the level of title contenders.

“The CV of a manager can also attract players,” Hiddink said.

“He’s showing he wants to come here, knowing Chelsea will not play Champions League next year.

“Coming in is showing that commitment, that might attract players.”

Hiddink spoke to Conte on Tuesday when the Italian met the players at Cobham.

“I had a short meeting with him about general things,” added Hiddink, who is happy to continue to help Chelsea on an informal basis once his second caretaker spell ends.

“It’s always a big job, regardless (of) the circumstances Chelsea has been in this year.

“He is equipped and he is able and he’s used to the pressure at big clubs to win titles.

“If needed I’m available for the club. This is a club which I love very much.”

With seven games to go, Hiddink’s focus is on integrating young players, rather than seeking an unbeaten finish to the season.

They will get their chance again this week, with John Terry (Achilles), Eden Hazard (hip/groin), Costa (suspended), Loic Remy (calf) and Nemanja Matic (bruised leg) all out.

Terry is expected to be out for two to three weeks, while Remy may not play again this season, so Alexandre Pato could make his first start or Radamel Falcao could make his first appearance since October following a thigh problem. Defender Gary Cahill (hip) faces a fitness test.

Meanwhile, Francesco Guidolin has challenged his Swansea players to create history against Chelsea.

Swansea have never beaten the Blues in the Premier League and suffered their heaviest home defeat in 24 years when the champions romped to a 5-0 victory at the Liberty Stadium last season.

But Guidolin said: “We can change our history — we have that possibility.

“Chelsea are a good, important team and they have not lost (in the league) under Hiddink. But we can play well and produce a good match.

“I think we can play with aggression, courage and character. No fears.”

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