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Friday 21 September 2018

Antonio Conte insists he will not quit Chelsea

Antonio Conte's future at Chelsea is again the subject of speculation
Antonio Conte's future at Chelsea is again the subject of speculation

Antonio Conte has no intention of quitting Chelsea and says it is up to the club whether he stays on as head coach.

The Italian won the Premier League title last term, in his first season as boss of the Blues, who play Leicester on Saturday.

Conte last summer signed an improved contract, but not an extension to his deal which expires in June 2019, and there has been continual speculation over his position.

The former Juventus and Italy boss says that goes with the territory of working at Chelsea and does not happen at other clubs.

"Everything is possible," he said.

"In one moment you stay here, in another moment another person replaces you in your job."

Asked if he would extend his contract with Chelsea, he added: "In this case, I think the club has to decide to send me away."

Conte, who has been linked with jobs in Italy and with Paris St Germain in France, was then asked if he would resign. He said: "No."

Conte insisted he is happy at Chelsea, will continue to work as a professional and "never give up".

He added: "For the manager of this club it's normal to have this type of situation, also if you won last season the league and you reached the final in FA Cup."

Conte's position has been subject of speculation regarding a rumoured frustration over recruitment.

He has continually described transfer business - plus player contracts, with Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois' deals on the agenda - as a club matter in recent weeks.

And Conte's comments on Alexis Sanchez on Friday may be interpreted as questioning Chelsea's approach.

The 48-year-old expressed his admiration for Sanchez, whose time at Arsenal appears to be coming to an end, either in the January transfer window or this summer when his Gunners contract expires.

Sanchez has been linked with Manchester City, with Manchester United reportedly entering the bidding.

Conte was asked why Chelsea apparently have not joined the race for Sanchez, with Michy Batshuayi failing to convince as a back-up to Alvaro Morata and "half" striker Eden Hazard often used instead as a 'false nine'.

"I don't know how I can answer you," Conte added.

"I can give my opinion to my club for every situation but then they have to make the best decision, and that is right."

Conte was asked if he was frustrated watching other teams strengthen, when Chelsea have been more circumspect.

He said: "I understand that the other teams try to kill (rival) teams and to anticipate the situation. This is the real transfer market, not to wait until the last moment to buy the players.

"If you anticipate the transfer market you become stronger and you make the other team weak."

On Sanchez, he added: "We are talking about a top player in a moment when you can buy him with a price not so high.

"This is a great chance for the clubs that can invest in him."

Chelsea have signed N'Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater from Leicester under Conte, who denied Foxes striker Jamie Vardy had been subject of transfer discussions.

"No, honestly we didn't speak about him," he said.

Conte is wary of Saturday's visitors.

"At this moment maybe Leicester is the worst team for us to face," he added.

Press Association

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