Antonio Conte admits he doesn't have an instant answer for the problems that have plagued his spluttering Chelsea team in recent weeks.
Chelsea fall to two defeats in a row
Conte's side slumped to lacklustre defeats against Liverpool and Arsenal in their last two Premier League matches and have recorded just one clean sheet in 15 matches in all competitions ahead of Saturday's Premier League trip to Hull, when they will again be without injured captain and key defender John Terry.
Terry has missed the last three matches with an ankle injury he picked up in the draw away at Swansea and won’t return until October 15th at the earliest, when Chelsea take on champions Leicester.
Conte knows he has to make do with the current squad, many of whom are once again underachieving after their dismal 10th-place finish last season, until the January transfer window opens at the turn of the year.
No magic solution to problems, says Conte
“We haven't got a magic wand to change the situation in two months, three months, four months,” he said to the press on Friday.
“We don't forget the past. The past is there, it's very clear. We finished in 10th place last season,” he continued. “When you finish 10th, it means you have problems. We must change the situation and we must work hard together. That’s what we’re doing.
“At this moment, that's the most important thing: not to win or to lose. But to understand that only through great work, hard work, can we fill the gap that now we have,” he added.
Chelsea's only victory in their last four games in all competitions came in the League Cup at Leicester and their 3-0 defeat at Arsenal last weekend exposed numerous flaws in Conte's team.
The Italian says Chelsea's recent problems have been instructive because he now has a better idea of what needs to change.
“In these two games against Arsenal and Liverpool we saw, and we learned, a lot of important things,” he said. “We faced two teams who are very strong and, for me, these two teams are now at the top of their game. We have a lot to improve. This is the great difference. This is also the great hope that we must have.”
A busy January window ahead for Chelsea?
Conte is reportedly keen on overhauling his squad during the January transfer window after failing to land his top targets before the August deadline. He spoke to owner Roman Abramovich this week after the Russian billionaire made an appearance at the training ground, but denied he had demanded to splash out on a host of new signings.
“I'm lucky because Mr Abramovich is very passionate about football,” he said. “To talk with him about football is very interesting, to discuss and explain my idea of football. I don't see an opportunity in January to spend money or to change.
“Now I see the present. I see in the present the opportunity to improve, to continue to work, to understand it's not easy. We know this in the club. And we must continue to change the story of last season.”