Saturday 18 August 2018

Conte denies Vialli claims that he can't 'wait to leave'

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte speaks to the press. Photo: Reuters
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte speaks to the press. Photo: Reuters

Matt Law

Antonio Conte has dismissed the theory that he is counting down to his Chelsea pay-off by claiming he is "angry" about the season and is struggling to sleep as his team look likely to miss out on Champions League qualification.

Following the loss to Tottenham Hotspur that has left his side with a mountain to climb to finish in the top four of the Premier League, Conte's former Juventus team-mate Gianluca Vialli said the Italian "cannot wait to leave" Stamford Bridge.

Conte, though, revealed he had not spoken to Vialli since dining with him last year and insisted he was not hoping to be sacked - even though it could land him around pounds £9m in compensation.

"Those who know me very well, they know me, they know that in this moment I am very angry," said Conte.

"I am very sad for this situation. Those who know me very well know I am trying to put all of myself to change this situation because I have great responsibility.

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"When I go to my house, it is not that I am relaxed but I know that I gave everything and I am giving everything for this club, 120pc every day, every day. Sometimes, it is very difficult to sleep with these types of problems."

On the claim of former Chelsea manager Vialli, Conte said: "It is not true. Gianluca is a friend, but I am not talking with him for one year, maybe.

"We played together for many years at Juventus, he was my captain, we won the Champions League together and I consider him a friend. All of my former team-mates, I consider them friends.

"I can be disappointed (with the comments) on one side, but I respect him because he is a journalist now for Sky and he is doing his job. He is trying to give his opinion. This is his opinion. It is not my opinion.

"The people who stay very close to me, they know very well my intentions - to stay, to stay here, to continue my job here. This is the truth. You will see."

Chelsea will pay tribute to former captain Ray Wilkins, who died this week, during their Premier League clash against West Ham United tomorrow.

"It was tragic news for us, we are talking about a really good person. I was lucky to know him and speak with him many times," Conte said.

"He was a legend for this club, an ambassador for football. We want to pass on to the family our deepest condolences and I think this is a big loss." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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