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Conte´s focus on reaching Euro 2016, not a new contract

Antonio Conte says his focus is purely on Italy’s bid to qualify for Euro 2016 and not on agreeing a new contract.

Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Carlo Tavecchio has again stated his wish for the former Juventus head coach – whose deal expires in 2016 – to sign fresh terms with the Azzurri set-up.

Italy need three points from their last two qualifying matches against Azerbaijan and Norway to be certain of automatic qualification to Euro 2016.

Speaking ahead of his side’s game with Azerbaijan in Baku on Saturday, Conte insisted the timing for negotiations on a new deal was not right.

“I am not thinking about the contract,” said the 46-year-old.

“It is not a priority at the moment – I am thinking about qualifying and then playing a great European Championships.

“I thank the President because these are expressions of esteem, and they are pleasing. First we will put in the passion and the work and when the time is right we will talk about everything.”

Conte claimed he has been impressed with the efforts of his players after a recent run of low-scoring games that has seen them score only four goals and concede just three in their last five internationals.

He continued: “I am happy with the work we are putting in and I expect the team to show determination in every aspect.

“We are aware of the strengths of our opponents. I will choose my players based on the formation I select.”

Italy sit top of Group H on 18 points from eight games, but they could still be caught by second-placed Norway (16) and third-placed Croatia (14), with only the top two sides in each group guaranteed a ticket to France.

If Croatia were to lose their match against Bulgaria on Saturday, Italy would be through regardless of their result in Azerbaijan.

Fri 9 Oct, 2015
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