Saturday 23 September 2017

Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte says football is his life

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte says football is his life
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte says football is his life

Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte understands Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola's comments on retirement, but the Italian says he needs football.

Asked about the prospect of emulating the longevity of Sir Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger, Conte initially suggested he could envisage managing for 10 more years, but he seemed tempted by more. His wife Elisabetta may disapprove.

"You are talking about two monsters, two great managers," Conte said.

"They are a big example for me. I hope to have, not completely their career, but 10 years, yes. It's enough for me.

"Twenty more years? Now I'm 47. I prefer that my wife doesn't listen to this...

"This is our life. Football is our life, with this pressure, with all.

"In the moment that football is not in our life, I think probably we die."

Conte enjoyed a stellar playing career with Juventus and Italy and Guardiola did likewise with Barcelona and Spain before each swiftly began management careers which have brought further success.

Conte, who has respect and admiration for the City boss, believes that contributed to Guardiola airing his thoughts on the future.

Guardiola on Thursday clarified remarks he made in an interview with NBC, in which he said he was already thinking about his retirement.

The City boss insisted it was not imminent, but said he would not be coaching when he is 60 years old.

Conte added: "When you have a method, when you have a philosophy of football, an idea you want to bring in every team you manage, you spend a lot of energy.

"And sometimes it can happen that you are a bit tired. Above all when you were a footballer and you spent your life, 20 years, to play every week, to have one training session, two training sessions in one day and then quickly you became a manager.

"You spend a lot of energy. But not just physical energy. Also mental energy.

"In some moments it can happen to think this. I'm sure that Pep wants to continue for a lot of time.

"When you decide to do this work it's because you like this. You like to have this pressure, this moment that the pressure is enormous. We need this."

Chelsea, five points clear in the Premier League, play Peterborough in the FA Cup third round on Sunday.

The Blues are looking to respond from their 13-game winning run in the league coming to an end on Wednesday at Tottenham.

Michy Batshuayi, Kurt Zouma, Cesc Fabregas and John Terry are expected to play from the start.

Conte is looking to strengthen in the winter transfer window, but one option is to recall Nathan Ake, who is on loan at Bournemouth.

The 21-year-old Dutchman has only recently forced his way into the Cherries' side, but could provide competition for Marcos Alonso at left wing-back.

"Ake is a really good player," Conte said.

"Honestly, I'm evaluating his situation, because Ake could be an interesting opportunity in this window, yes, for us."

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