That changes now, and the Uefa Champions League, which Chelsea will go into as top seeds in the group phase, is a competition that used to vex Conte when he was leading Juventus to their series of Italian titles.
"Alvaro is working well but he needs time to understand and adapt to our style of football, above all because he's a striker".
Arsenal are set to kick-start their EPL campaign against Leicester City on Friday, August 11 while on the other hand, Chelsea are set to begin their title defence against Burnley on Saturday, August 12.
In defence, Azpilicueta was a standout along the back three last year, but his versatility means he will likely replace Moses out wide on Saturday.
Hernan Crespo has told the Daily Mail that he regrets not spending longer at Chelsea and revealed that family problems cut short his time at Stamford Bridge. Is new midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko a significant upgrade on Nemanja Matic, who was sold to rival Manchester United in one of the most head-scratching moves of the summer window?
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had an answer, pointing to Chelsea sending numerous players out on loan, but Conte insisted: "I'm not looking for sympathy of any coaches for this situation".
Neville also expects the arrival of Matic to help Paul Pogba fulfil his potential at Old Trafford.More news: Instant analysis for the Panthers' preseason win vs
Now, in a recent interview with Sky Sports, Conte acknowledged the brilliance of Matic and his importance to the team, while also expressing his disappointment at being forced to let go of the midfield anchorman.
He said: "It is making it harder than ever because when managers are in trouble they turn to experience".
Is Chelsea vs Burnley on TV?
The French manager said: "We are still open".
Chelsea skipper Gary Cahill echoed those sentiments after the reigning champions were beaten on penalties by Wenger's Arsenal in the Community Shield last weekend.
Gray's departure means that Burnley have lost arguably their two best players this summer, following Michael Keane's transfer to Everton earlier in the window. And it's not finished. He was a brilliant midfield player, one of the best in the world, but he kept chasing the ball and vacating areas.
"It's a hard year to call", he admitted. They have weakened their own team and strengthened Manchester United, who now have a better chance of winning the Premier League than Chelsea. He suggests that they should acquire a 'plan B' to give them 'something slightly different' and more of an attacking edge. Amazingly, their luck has held, but it can't last forever, especially since they've done next to nothing to improve this offseason.