‘I will never worry about sack,’ says An­to­nio Conte af­ter Chelsea come­back

The Guardian Australia - - Sport - Nick Ames at Stam­ford Bridge

An­to­nio Conte said the fear of be­ing sacked by Chelsea has never gripped him af­ter his team over­turned a deficit against Wat­ford to win 4-2 and ease the pres­sure that has been build­ing dur­ing a dif­fi­cult au­tumn.

A de­feat would have been Chelsea’s third league re­verse in a row and their patchy form has drawn ob­vi­ous par­al­lels with the dis­as­trous ti­tle de­fence of 2015-16. That sea­son, José Mour­inho did not last be­yond mid-De­cem­ber; Conte has been sub­jected to the usual mur­mur­ings that ac­com­pany poor re­sults but said he is not wor­ried about los­ing his job.

“I feel a lot of pres­sure but not this type of pres­sure,” he said. “If the club de­cides to sack me, hon­estly, I don’t feel this pres­sure. I trust in my work, I try to give ev­ery­thing for the club; I did this last sea­son, I’m do­ing it this sea­son and I will never be wor­ried about this – never.”

Conte ex­plained the only pres­sure he feels is that of sat­is­fy­ing the club’s sup­port and re­ward­ing them for “a lot of pa­tience”. They needed it on an af­ter­noon when Wat­ford had chances to put the game be­yond them and it was a sub­sti­tute, Michy Bat­shuayi, who scored two of the goals that turned the game around.

“When you play three games [in a week] and are us­ing the same play­ers it’s im­por­tant to make im­por­tant de­ci­sions,” Conte said of Bat­shuayi’s 51st-minute in­tro­duc­tion. “Some­times the de­ci­sion works, some­times it doesn’t, but to­day I was lucky. If you com­pare this sea­son with last, Michy is now play­ing a lot. Against Crys­tal Palace his per­for­mance was not good but it wasn’t only him … To­day the im­pact was in­cred­i­ble, im­por­tant, and we must con­tinue this way.”

He praised the men­tal­ity shown by his play­ers, who with­held a bar­rage rarely ex­pe­ri­enced dur­ing his ten­ure in the sec­ond half. “To over­come this kind of mo­ment makes you stronger,” he said. “When we were at 2-1 down it was a very dif­fi­cult mo­ment, maybe the worst for us, and to come back was im­por­tant. It means th­ese play­ers have a great de­sire not to ac­cept this sit­u­a­tion.”

His Wat­ford coun­ter­part, Marco Silva, ad­mit­ted to be­ing un­happy at the er­ro­neous award of a cor­ner for Chelsea’s first goal but pre­ferred to fo­cus on his team’s as­sertive per­for­mance. “It’s a re­ally un­fair re­sult, we didn’t de­serve it,” Silva said. “Even one point is not fair for us. If you score the third goal you have the chance to con­trol the match but Chelsea started to be­lieve and put fresh play­ers on the field like Bat­shuayi, who made the dif­fer­ence.”

An­to­nio Conte con­grat­u­lates Michy Bat­shuayi, who came on as a sub­sti­tute and scored two goals in Chelsea’s 4-2 vic­tory over Wat­ford.

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