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Sunday 22 September 2019

'Do you really want me to tell you?' - Willian hints at uneasy relationship with Chelsea boss Antonio Conte

Chelsea’s Willian
Chelsea’s Willian
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Chelsea midfielder Willian has hinted at an uneasy relationship with his manager Antonio Conte, just two days before the FA Cup final against Manchester United at Wembley.

Willian has been strongly linked with a move to United in the last 12 months and confirmed in an interview earlier this year that his old boss Jose Mourinho has tried and failed to bring him to Old Trafford last summer.

“There were a few conversations with my agent. I worked with Mourinho and I became his friend as well,” he explained last summer in an interview with Goal.

“He likes me a lot and I like him a lot as a coach and as a person. He has put his trust in me and in my work, and I was very grateful to him.

“Manchester came to me, they talked with my agent, but nothing happened, because Chelsea would not negotiate me in any way and I’m very happy at Chelsea.”

Now it appears the Brazilian may not have a perfect working relationship with Conte, as he offered this response to ESPN when asked about his current manager.

“Oh boy! Do you really want me to tell you?” he said before adding: “Let’s save it for one next interview.”

A few eyebrows were raised when Willian was selected by the Chelsea first team squad as the club’s Player of the Year, in a vote that was viewed by some as a hint to Conte that he had made a big mistake by leaving the playmaker out of his side for much of the first half of this season.

Willian has been more prominent in Conte’s plans since Christmas, but he is not assured of a starting place at Wembley on Saturday, amid fresh rumours Mourinho will try and bring him to United once again.

Reports on Wednesday suggested United officials had already held talks with Willian’s advisers over a move to sign the 29-year-old, who was the stand-out player for Mourinho in his final few months as Chelsea manager in late 2015.

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