Pat Nevin makes bold claim about Chelsea and top-four race

Pat Nevin reckons Chelsea could struggle to finish in the Premier League's top four

Pat Nevin says Antonio Conte’s Chelsea side are still a player or two short of finishing in the Premier League’s top four.

The 47-year-old took over the reins of the west London side following Italy’s European championship campaign in France in July.

I have watched every one of Chelsea’s pre-season games and I have already seen big improvements in really good players in a short space of time

Pat Nevin

Conte signed Belgium striker Michy Batshuayi in a £33m deal from Ligue 1 Marseille to bolster his attacking options at Stamford Bridge.

The Chelsea manager also added Leicester City’s title-winning midfielder N’Golo Kante to his Blues squad in a £32m transfer last month.

However, former Blues winger Nevin believes Conte is still short at the back, particularly at left-back, ahead of their season opener against West Ham United at Stamford Bridge on Monday night.

“I am not picking them in my top four now because they are a player or two short but if they get a left-back and some cover at left centre-back then I would say they definitely will be,” Nevin told BBC Sport.

“I have watched every one of Chelsea’s pre-season games and I have already seen big improvements in really good players in a short space of time, and also the adaptability of Conte. He will try all sorts of different things and if you are capable of manipulating your players like that you have got a real chance of doing something special.”

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Chelsea finished in tenth place in the Premier League table last season under Jose Mourinho and his successor Guus Hiddink.

The Blues won the top-flight crown in 2015 as Mourinho secured his third Premier League title as Chelsea manager.

The west London side managed to beat Liverpool and AC Milan during their summer tour of USA, although the Blues lost to Real Madrid.

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