Sunday 18 March 2018

Conte denies his training regime has led to Chelsea player unrest

Bournemouth v Chelsea, Live BT Sport 1, 5.30

Conte: “This is a lack of respect.” Photo credit: Nigel French/PA Wire
Conte: “This is a lack of respect.” Photo credit: Nigel French/PA Wire

Sam Dean

A furious Antonio Conte said suggestions that his Chelsea players were unhappy with his training methods were "bulls***" as he lashed out at speculation that he was set to be replaced by Carlo Ancelotti.

The Chelsea manager also reacted angrily to reports that his players had been in contact with former assistant coach Steve Holland to complain about Conte's intensive training sessions.

In an angry press conference ahead of his side's trip to Bournemouth today, Conte said: "Around us there is a lot of bulls***. I see in the past it happened the same with a lot of managers. A lot of bulls***. They try to create problems between me, the club and players."

Conte said Holland, who left the club at the end of last season to become assistant manager of England under Gareth Southgate, had contacted him to say it was not true that unhappy Chelsea players had been complaining to him about training.

"This is a lack of respect," Conte said. "I can accept that to write the club is ready to sack me and the story with the players.

"I can accept this, but to put another person (Holland) in this way I think is incorrect and it is not good that this person has to send me a message to tell me, 'I am sorry but this is not true'. Why put another person in this bulls***? If you want to hit me, hit me."

Conte has come under increasing pressure this season after a difficult start to the campaign in which Chelsea have lost to Burnley, Manchester City and Crystal Palace in the Premier League.

But Conte said the start to last season, in which Chelsea initially struggled under his management, was the more challenging time in his career in England as he inherited a side who had finished 10th in the previous campaign.


He added that his role as manager of Italy was a more difficult experience than anything he has experienced at Chelsea. "It was tougher at the start because to arrive in a new country, to adapt yourself with a new type of football, new language, new habit was not easy and I found a situation with a lot of troubles," he said.

"I tried to solve these problems and I solved a lot of problems. But don't forget last season when we won, not one person predicted this at the start of the season."

At this stage last year, Chelsea were in the midst of a run of 13 consecutive league victories that fired them to the top of the table and eventually to the title.

"I am not a wizard," Conte said when asked if Chelsea could produce a similar run of form this year. "It is very difficult for me to forecast another run like last season. "

Chelsea are still without the injured Victor Moses, while key midfielder N'Golo Kante has not recovered in time for the trip to Bournemouth.

Meanwhile, Danny Drinkwater, who played in the midweek victory over Everton in the League Cup, is still working towards full fitness after the start to his Chelsea career was curtailed by a calf injury.

Chelsea ended a run of three games without a win with a 4-2 league victory over Watford last Saturday. Bournemouth sit 19th after a disappointing start to season, but Conte said Eddie Howe's side were "unlucky" to be so far down the league table, and that their place in the relegation zone was "not right". (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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