Alvaro Morata fears critics are already trying to “kill” him over his club-record move to Chelsea, but insists he can cope with the pressure of becoming their new main striker.
Morata joined Chelsea from Real Madrid for an initial £58million fee, which is £8m more than the club paid Liverpool for Fernando Torres in 2011.
The 24-year-old is set to make his official debut at home to Burnley on Saturday after failing to score in three pre-season appearances. That included missing a penalty in Chelsea’s shoot-out defeat to Arsenal in the Community Shield last week.
When asked if his price-tag was on his mind, he told Marca: “I admit it’s a very big amount, but I have the personality to play quietly and go my way.
“I have had only two pre-season games (against Bayern Munich and Inter Milan), 15 competitive minutes (against Arsenal) and a missed penalty… and they’re already killing me, so I know what’s ahead.
“It is the price that must be paid for such a large transfer. And it’s something that motivates me and makes me work harder every day. I know twice as many people are paying attention to me.
“It’s been a long, strange summer, when I had to make decisions. I was not fresh, nor could I train well.
“The day I signed for Chelsea I had to go around the world, from Los Angeles to Singapore, through London and I trained. Difficult. Now I have to adapt to a new team, with a very tactical Italian coach, with many changes.”
The Spain international has the task of replacing Diego Costa, who wants a transfer back to Atletico Madrid, up front.
Costa scored 52 league goals in three seasons for the Blues, helping them win two League titles in the process.
Morata has won 12 major trophies in his career at Real Madrid and Juventus, but has only been a first-team regular at the latter between 2014-16.
His highest tally in a league season was the 15 he scored for Real Madrid as a fringe player last term, although he went in to get 20 in all competitions.
But he is setting his sights on a personal best at Stamford Bridge and added: “I want to score more than 20. It’s my job. But it is not an obsession for me ahead of winning titles for the team.
“For example, when I was with Juventus I did not score more than 20. But I won all the titles except for the Champions League. I have scored 15 or 16 goals and won titles. And other strikers have scored 35 and not won anything.”
Antonio Conte had a key role in Juventus signing Morata three years ago and tried to bring him to west London last summer.
Morata says the Italian was important to his decision to leave Real Madrid and is already helping him improve his game.
He explained: “I knew Conte loved me. I had talked to him many times. In a way, I felt indebted to him because I signed for Juventus and he had to go.
“Actually, at first I did not realise I was so interested in signing, but when I found out about their interest I did not hesitate. It was my preferred move.
“I do not think I need to adapt to the Premier League, but to my new coach. I must understand Conte well, he asks me the opposite of what my previous coaches have asked me.
“I will play in different positions and with different game schemes. And that change I have already understood. From there, everything is easier.”