Chelsea Boss Conte Reveals He Expects Everton to Join Premier League 'Elite' in Near Future
Antonio Conte has tipped Everton to become the next Premier League club to join the "elite" batch of teams competing for a top four spot.
The Toffees have been lavish spenders in the summer transfer window in a bid to take a serious crack at gatecrashing the Champions League qualification spots this term - much like they did during the 2004/05 campaign.
Speaking to Chelsea's official website ahead of the reigning champions' clash with Ronald Koeman's men on Sunday, Conte backed the Goodison Park-based side to make it a 'top seven' instead of a 'top six' in the near future.
He said: "There are six top teams, but Everton are very close to these top teams. In the present and I am sure in the future Everton can join this elite of teams.
"Last season we played a really good game against Everton. We scored five goals, we created many chances, and we played really good football.
"But that game is in the past. The most important thing now is the present and to try to make another good performance against Everton, and try to win and get our first win at home."
Conte on Everton: 'Koeman built a really strong team. This season they improved a lot and we must pay great attention on Sunday.'— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) August 25, 2017
Conte has become something of a cult hero among fans in England's top flight for his over the top toucline antics and enthusiastic celebrations during his maiden campaign in charge at Stamford Bridge.
The Italian, however, revealed that those exuberant high jinks could soon be a thing of the past as he explained why he would try to be more mellow on the sidelines in 2017/18.
He added: "After one season you start to learn a lot of new situations, you start to live a lot of situations. Last season was totally new for me.
"I am much more relaxed than last season because you learn to work for a new club. Last season was my first time. Now, after one year, I learned a lot from the past. For this reason, I am more relaxed and I am enjoying the situation better than last season. I am very calm.
"Every season is tough. Maybe this season will be tougher for many reasons, also because we won last season and this season we have to play another competition. But we must ready."