Italy was easier, says Conte

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Chelsea's Italian head coach Antonio Conte celebrates after scoring during the UEFA Champions League. AFP

LONDON (Reuters) – Chelsea manager Antonio Conte believes that retaining the league title is an easier task in Italy than it is in the English Premier League due to transfer policies.

Conte won the second of his three consecutive Serie A titles at Juventus in 2013 after rivals AC Milan sold Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alexandre Pato and Thiago Silva. Napoli had off-loaded Ezequiel Lavezzi in the previous transfer window.

After Chelsea won the league last season their main rivals, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal, made significant purchases.

“It is very difficult. To defend – it is very difficult to win two titles in a row,” Conte said.

“We won the title with Juventus and I was expecting a really strong challenge from AC Milan, but instead they sold Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva. It wasn’t simple second time, but it was easier.

“Here you have big teams and now they are bigger. And now after I think a great transfer market, they have improved a lot. It’s not simple to play in this league.”

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