Friday 20 October 2017

Antonio Conte throws long-term Chelsea future in serious doubt in interview on Italian radio

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte celebrates his team's win at Stoke
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte celebrates his team's win at Stoke

Evan Bartlett

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has admitted that he misses Italy and plans to return home soon.

In an interview with Italian radio over the weekend, the Blues boss admitted he does not see a long-term future in west London although he did speak fondly of his connection with the club’s fans and talked up his ambitions of completing his “project” in the Premier League.

“I miss Italy, that’s beyond doubt. And in my mind, I will not be staying abroad for very long,” he told Radio Uno.

“Italy is my homeland. Once I have had some more nice experiences I will return to Italy, for sure. I don’t know when, but the goal is to do that.”

Conte, 48, moved to London last summer while his wife and daughter stayed in Italy for the season and he admitted that adjusting to life in England without his family was “not easy”.

Reports in the summer suggested the Italian was considering a move home to take over at Inter Milan while there were constant reports of tensions between the manager and the Chelsea hierarchy over what was a frustrating transfer window.

However, after leading the club to the Premier League title, Conte revealed that his wife Elisabetta and daughter Vittoria would be moving into his new home in London and he admits he still has plenty of work to do before he leaves.

“Foreseeing the future is always difficult. Ours is the most precarious work as you are in one place today and tomorrow you are in another,” Conte added.

“I have the will to finish a project, and then look for the right continuation of that.

“The English experience has greatly enriched me, and I’d like to carry on as manager.”

Conte also spoke of his relationship with the Stamford Bridge faithful, highlighting the giant Tricolore the fans unveiled for his first home match against West Ham and how much he enjoyed his first year at the club and in the Premier League.

“It was great also because the previous year things hadn’t gone well for Chelsea, who ended up 10th in the table,” he said.

“To win the league at the first attempt is always difficult, and in my case it was my first experience abroad. The experience has enriched me and improved me in many different ways. In Italy you’re in your comfort zone, when it comes to language, lifestyle, your habits and preparations, and moving abroad is not easy. It’s not easy to carry over your own ideas about football, your own methods.

“You have to get everything across in a different language, and that wastes a lot of energy. But I’ve experienced excellent stadiums, incredible atmospheres, fans who come to live in the moment, to have a party. Even more than results, it matters that the players give everything for their shirt, and if they do that whether they’re relegated or not, the fans are ready to applaud.”

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