Antonio Conte vows to respect Chelsea contract despite ‘having suitcase ready’

Antonio Conte accepts the extra pressure that comes with the Chelsea job due to the club’s modern “custom” of regularly changing managers.

The Italian head coach, who is under contract at Stamford Bridge until the summer of 2019, oversaw a 1-1 draw with Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

The Blues won the Premier League under Conte last season but for much of this term he has faced questions about his long-term future with Chelsea.

Speaking to Italian television channel Mediaset Premium following the Barcelona game, he said: “It’s partly to do with the history of Chelsea, it’s unavoidable.

“In the past 14 years there have been 10 changes of manager. Clearly when there is – and I say this in quotation marks – that kind of custom then the press play on it a lot, especially when results don’t materialise.

“This year there’s been a lot of pressure… after the first defeat to Burnley there were people talking about the sack and about a change on the Chelsea bench but that’s because of the history here.

“Chelsea are talked about a lot by the press but for me that’s absolutely not a problem. I just hope that pressure doesn’t affect the players, whereas I like pressure.”

Conte has been linked with a return to the position he held before taking over at Chelsea, that of Italy head coach. The post remains vacant following Giampiero Ventura’s resignation following Italy’s failure to qualify for this summer’s World Cup.

Antonio Conte
Antonio Conte was as animated as ever against Barcelona on Tuesday (Nick Potts/PA)

Conte, however, insists he is fully committed to Chelsea.

“I’ve said this in a very clear way, I have a contract with Chelsea until 2019 and I intend to respect that contract,” he said.

“As with a marriage, both parties need to be happy, yet in this profession we always have our suitcases ready. But my intention, I repeat, is to respect my contract here at Chelsea.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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