Antonio Conte will continue with John Terry as Chelsea captain, whether or not the defender plays.
The 35-year-old defender signed a one-year contract extension — his third such deal — in May, having in January declared his expectation that he would leave this summer.
Terry, who has made more than 700 appearances for the Blues, has been reassured his considerable influence is valued.
“Yes, John Terry is the captain of Chelsea when he plays, when he doesn’t play. You are always the captain,” Conte said.
“He’s captain of this team, he’s a great player, with a great personality, with great charisma.
“I like to speak to him because he knows the club, the right spirit to play in this club and for me he’s an important player.
“When a player deserves to play, with me, (they) play.”
Former Italy boss Conte, speaking English well, expressed his pride and excitement at what awaits with Chelsea.
He also acknowledged the challenge ahead at a club which won the 2014-15 Premier League title, but finished a lowly 10th last term.
“The pressure for me is not important,” Conte added.
“I was born with pressure. It’s normal.
“When you are a player, a footballer, or a manager of a great club like Chelsea you must play to win the title or to fight at the end to compete with the other teams, to win the title, to reach your targets.
“I know this league is very, very difficult, because there are six, seven teams that can win the title.”
Conte was speaking in the Harris Suite at Stamford Bridge after his second day of training with Chelsea’s first team squad.
“In these two days I saw the players with the right attitude, with the right behaviour, with a great will to fight for this shirt, to fight to go back very soon to compete for the best position, to compete to win the title,” Conte added.
“The best important message is that I’m a worker. I like to work. I know only this road, to win.
Conte joins Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp, Arsene Wenger, Mauricio Pochettino and Claudio Ranieri as a Premier League boss.
He said: “I’m very happy to compete with them, but in this tournament it’s not a challenge between managers, between great teams, between great players, this is the most important thing.”
He plans to call former Chelsea boss Ranieri, who led Leicester to a surprise title success last term.
“I will call Claudio Ranieri, first and foremost because he’s a lovely man, and I will ask him a bit of advice,” he said.
As for the team’s formation, Conte did not reveal his plans, but used a tailor metaphor.
“You must build the best dress for the team and respect their characteristics,” he said.
“Every manager has his own method, his own philosophy of football and idea of football. I want to transfer my idea to the players.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved