Chelsea manager Antonio Conte could have quit football after being embroiled in a match-fixing scandal in his native Italy.
An accusation of failing to report an attempt to fix a match against AlbinoLeffe during his time in charge of second-tier side Siena in 2010-11 landed the former Italy coach in court as part of the Scommessopoli case.
Conte, who was banned from the touchline by the Italian Football Federation for four months in 2012 as part of the scandal, was acquitted of sporting fraud in May.
The 47-year-old claimed it would have been easy to leave the sport, but his desire to persist and come out on top forced him to fight the allegations.
“The story is a bad story for me and I don’t accept this. I fought a lot against this story and I risked myself to go to before a judge,” said Conte.
“I could have chosen another way. It would have been very easy for me to go, to finish a problem and then pass the time.
“In Italy, in the past, with this type of story, five years and it’s finished. But no, I wanted to be judged.
“In my heart the story was very bad for me, my family. Many people wrote bad things without knowing the reality.
“My players know me from Italy, all the people, all the managers. All the people know who Antonio Conte is. In this situation I want always to win, I work very hard to win.”
After a woeful Premier League title defence last season ended with Chelsea finishing 10th, a top-four spot in Conte’s first campaign at the helm will be the minimum requirement.
The Italian, his voice croaky from barking orders at his team during their pre-season tour of the United States, is motivated to win, but believes plenty can be learned from being on the opposite side.
“I find peace in myself after the game when I win. For this reason, I want to work very hard and find different solutions and to give options to my players. Only when I win am I relaxed,” added Conte.
“It’s important when you lose because you learn. You try to see why you didn’t win. You learn a lot in yourself but to win is beautiful.
“We know that when you have a season when you finish in 10th place it is not good for all. It means there are problems.
“Now it is not important to say ‘Okay we are ready to fight, we can come back very soon and win the title’ – these are just words.
“It’s important now to deal in facts, all together, because it is now not a good period for us.”
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