Conte does not rule out leav­ing

‘I have an­other year of con­tract at this club, but ev­ery­thing is pos­si­ble’

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - SOCCER - NICK AMES

An­to­nio Conte has re­fused to rule out that he will leave Chelsea in the sum­mer, say­ing “ev­ery­thing is pos­si­ble” in re­sponse to spec­u­la­tion about his exit.

The Ju­ven­tus man­ager, Mas­si­m­il­iano Al­le­gri, has been linked with tak­ing Conte’s po­si­tion at Stam­ford Bridge in the event that he departs in pre-sea­son, a year be­fore the end of his con­tract. Conte stressed it would be the club’s de­ci­sion, sug­gest­ing also that Chelsea’s high turnover of coaches in­creases the amount of scru­tiny on the role.

When asked about the link with Al­le­gri, who has been joined by Luis En­rique and the Napoli coach Mau­r­izio Sarri on Chelsea’s list of re­ported tar­gets, Conte said: “Ev­ery­thing is pos­si­ble. I have an­other year of con­tract at this club, but ev­ery­thing is pos­si­ble. In one mo­ment you stay here; in an­other mo­ment you are in an­other place and an­other per­son re­places you and your job. Foot­ball is like this. Our job is very dif­fi­cult – ev­ery­thing can change a few times.”

Pressed on whether he would de­part of his own ac­cord, Conte ex­plained Chelsea would have to break his con­tract and said the club’s his­tory – Conte is their fifth full-time man­ager this decade while Rafael Benítez and Guus Hid­dink have also taken in­terim roles – makes ru­mours in­evitable. “It is nor­mal for the man­ager of this club to have this type of sit­u­a­tion,” he said. “Also if you won last sea­son the league and reached the fi­nal of the FA Cup – this is the his­tory of this club for the man­ager. I have a lot of experience in deal­ing with this type of sit­u­a­tion but there is some­thing strange if af­ter the first game, which we lost against Burn­ley, the press push quickly to sack me. In an­other club this doesn’t hap­pen.

“I have an­other year of con­tract and in this case I think the club has to de­cide to send me away. We have started a big work here with the play­ers and the club, and you need time to im­prove your work and cre­ate a solid ba­sis.

Great player

“In foot­ball now it is very dif­fi­cult to pre­dict if you can stay many years with one club, es­pe­cially in Eng­land. Be­fore, man­agers in Eng­land were in charge for many years. Now all of a sud­den you de­cide to sack man­agers ear­lier.”

Conte, who was speak­ing ahead of to­day’s Pre­mier League match with Le­ices­ter City was also asked about a con­ver­sa­tion he held with Alexis Sánchez in the tun­nel at Stam­ford Bridge be­fore the clubs met on Wed­nes­day night. He is a long-term fan of the 29-year-old but said that if Manch­ester City wish to sign him, as looks likely, Chelsea would be pow­er­less even in the event they were in­ter­ested.

“He’s a great player and knows very well that in my first sea­son at Ju­ven­tus we tried to buy him from Udi­nese, but then he de­cided to go to Barcelona,” he said.

– Guardian

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