Friday, May 25, 2018

Conte invites board to make judgement on his Chelsea reign

SoccerNews in English Premier League 8 May 2018

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Antonio Conte insists he remains committed to his contract at Chelsea but feels the final say on his Stamford Bridge tenure must come from those above him.

Despite leading the Blues to a stunning Premier League title triumph in his first season at the helm last year, widespread reports of Conte’s unhappiness over Chelsea’s transfer policy suggested he could be the latest coach to head through the club’s revolving door.

The Blues opened with a shock 3-2 defeat at home to Burnley and their title defence crumbled entirely in the new year, all the while with Conte making thinly veiled swipes at the pre-season recruitment drive.

Nevertheless, Chelsea entertain Huddersfield Town on Wednesday retaining a chance of sneaking into the top four and are on a run of five consecutive wins in all competitions, with the FA Cup final against Manchester United still to come.

It is a streak that casts a new light on talk linking Conte’s countrymen Maurizio Sarri and Massimiliano Allegri with his post and the 48-year-old pounded a familiar drum on Tuesday.

“I think and I’m sure that I am Chelsea’s coach and my focus is only on this,” he told reporters.

“As I said before it is very difficult to comment on any speculations because there have been speculations around me from the start of the season, after the first game against Burnley and I think you understood that this speculation is not important for me.

“My focus is only to do my work in the best possible way with my players. There are only two weeks and this season will finish. Then you will know if there is a different situation or if you see me again next season and we start again.”

Conte signed a fresh contract last July that did not extend the length of his initial terms, running until the end of 2018-19.

Asked whether he envisaged a long-term stay at Stamford Bridge, the former Italy and Juventus boss stated any such preference on his part would be meaningless without the club being in agreement.

“I think that in this decision there are always two parties to take the decision, not only one side and I don’t know,” he said.

“I must be honest to tell you that this is not my task to tell if I did a good job or if I have a good team for next season or if we are building something important.

“There is the club and people able to make judgements about this season and also the situation because we have worked together on this project and I think I am the last person to make a judgement on this season.”

Conte added: “For sure the reality in this moment is I have a contract I signed with Chelsea to be committed for another year.

“Now my present is with Chelsea. My focus is only to Chelsea. The future you never know what will happen because our job is very difficult. You have to be ready for everything.”

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