'You can see I don't sleep' - Antonio Conte on collision course with Chelsea board after venting frustration with transfer policy
Antonio Conte has put himself on a collision course with the Chelsea board by claiming he is not making any of the club’s transfer decisions after his team failed to reach the final of the Carabao Cup.
The feeling that Conte will not be at Chelsea past the end of this season continues to increase and the Italian is struggling to hide his frustration over the Blues’ transfer policy.
Conte also admitted he is losing sleep over the size of his squad after Willian became the latest player to be hit by injury in the 2-1 semi-final second-leg defeat by Arsenal.
Chelsea did not sign a number of Conte’s targets in the summer transfer window and have so far only secured Ross Barkley, who made his debut as Willian’s replacement at the Emirates, this month.
Left-back Emerson Palmieri is expected to join and Chelsea remain in negotiations over the possibility of also signing striker Edin Dzeko from Roma.
But Conte claimed he is having little input into who may come in, as he said: “I think the club decide our transfer market. As I said before, my task is to try to improve the team. About the transfer market, from the summer, the club decides every single player.”
Asked whether Willian’s hamstring injury and being knocked out of the Carabao Cup could prompt Chelsea to make signings, Conte replied: “I think one game, it is not right only one game to take the decision, or to understand something.
“There is a programme, there is a plan. It’s wrong to take decision on only one game. The situation is always the same from this summer. I continue to work with my players. This situation continues from this summer, not now. And my task continues to be to give everything for this club. The club is to take the best decision for the team.
“I think there are different situations. Sometimes I can have an impact on the transfer market, sometimes I don’t have an impact on this. My first task is to do my job, and be a coach, and to try to improve my players. For sure, I don’t have a big impact on the transfer market.”
Barkley’s debut was his first appearance of the season, having been out following hamstring surgery, and Conte outlined how difficult he believes his task has become.
“In this competition, we played with young players,” said Conte. “I had to do the same in the FA Cup. But you have to know the risk is to go out. Against Norwich we risked this. I’m crazy if I think I can put the same players in every competition and risk a big injury. The Premier League is very important and the Champions League. Another game in the FA Cup, but it’s not simple and I don’t sleep because of this. You can see I don’t sleep.”
Arsenal will play Manchester City in the final of the Carabao Cup, a competition Arsène Wenger has never won and saw his team lose to Birmingham City in the 2011 final.
“It is unfinished business because we didn’t win, but we are again at Wembley and many times we were there,” said Wenger. “But we are in the final again and we can take our fans there. That’s what you want, but of course now we are in it we want to win it and we will play against a very strong side, so it could become a very interesting game.”