Thursday 24 May 2018

Conte to reveal Chelsea future after FA Cup final

The Blues play Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United at Wembley on May 19.

Antonio Conte says his Chelsea future will be revealed after the FA Cup final with Manchester United
Antonio Conte says his Chelsea future will be revealed after the FA Cup final with Manchester United

By Matt McGeehan, Press Association Sport

Antonio Conte says the answer over his future as Chelsea head coach will be revealed after the FA Cup final.

Chelsea, who play Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United at Wembley on May 19, are making a late bid for the Premier League top four and host Huddersfield on Wednesday night in what could potentially be Conte’s final home match as head coach.

Speculation has been rife all season that his tenure will come to an end this summer after periods of public disgruntlement from the Italian.

Conte last summer signed an improved contract, but not an extension, to the three-year deal which expires in June 2019 after guiding Chelsea to the title in his first season as boss.

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Antonio Conte won the Premier League title in his first season as Chelsea head coach

Asked if Wednesday night’s penultimate game of the Premier League season could be his last as Blues boss at Stamford Bridge, Conte smiled.

“My answer is always the same,” he said.

“I’m very focused on the present, to do the job in the best way for the players and the fans.

“Our job is not simple, it’s not easy. But I’m totally focused on the present.”

Asked to elaborate later, Conte deflected the question again and pointed to the fact he is under contract, while referring to the speculation which began after the opening loss to Burnley last August.

Conte added: “There are only two weeks and this season will finish and you will know if there is a different situation or not, if you see me again next season and we start again from the first game speculation about my future.”

Chelsea have struggled this term after the title success and their top-four hopes are not in their control despite four straight wins.

The Italian declined to appraise his spell, which began in July 2016.

Conte added: “This is not my task to say if I did a good job or if I have a good team for next season or if we are building something important. Now it is not important.

“There is the club and people able to make judgements about this season, about also the situation.

“We have worked together on this project and I think I am the last person to make a judgement on this season.”

Conte’s side are two points behind Tottenham and three adrift of Liverpool with two games to play.

Spurs play the Magpies on Wednesday night and Leicester on Sunday, both games at Wembley, and Liverpool play Brighton at Anfield on the final day.

Conte bemoaned the late run which means even wins over relegation-threatened Huddersfield and Newcastle may not be enough for the Blues.

“There is a bit of disappointment because this season we dropped many points in a stupid way,” Conte added.

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Striker Alvaro Morata is in contention to feature for Chelsea against Huddersfield following injury

“Now there is not time to regret. We have to play two games, against Huddersfield and Newcastle, and then the final of the FA Cup.

“The situation is not in our hands. The only way to put a bit of pressure (on Spurs and Liverpool) is this, to get three points in every game.”

Alvaro Morata has returned to contention after missing the Liverpool win with a minor injury.

Press Association

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