Antonio Conte admits he needs to replace four players at Chelsea

Antonio Conte admits he is looking for the next generation of heroes at Chelsea after several club veterans headed for the exit door.

Branislav Ivanovic and John Obi Mikel, who played over 500 combined games for the Blues, both left Stamford Bridge during the January transfer window.

Brazilian midfielder Oscar also left, joining the Chinese Super League in a lucrative move.

Captain John Terry will follow the trio out this summer after announcing he would leave the club having spent the best part of two decades at Chelsea.

‘We are building good foundations for this team, for the club,’ Conte said.

‘I like to repeat there is a moment for the club, a transitional moment because when you lose players who wrote the history of this club… Ivanovic, Mikel, John Terry, also Oscar, and didn’t replace them, it means we must build good foundations.

‘To do this you need time.’

Conte can clinch the Premier League title in his debut season in England with a victory at West Brom on Friday evening.

And the former Italy boss admits the team have exceeded his expectations, adding: ‘We started a great job this season.

‘If you ask me, honestly, do you believe you’d fight to won the title in the first season? It’s very difficult to answer because we are building.’


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