Conte won’t be walk­ing out on the Bridge

Only way Blues boss leaves Chelsea is via the sack

Sport360 - - Premier League - By Matt McGee­han @mattm­cgee­han edi­to­rial@sport360.com

An­to­nio Conte has no in­ten­tion of quit­ting Chelsea and says it is up to the club whether he stays on as head coach.

The Ital­ian won the Premier League ti­tle last term, in his first sea­son as boss of the Blues, who play Le­ices­ter to­day.

Conte last sum­mer signed an im­proved con­tract, but not an ex­ten­sion to his deal which ex­pires in June 2019, and there has been con­tin­ual spec­u­la­tion over his po­si­tion.

The for­mer Ju­ven­tus and Italy boss says that goes with the ter­ri­tory of work­ing at Chelsea and does not hap­pen at other clubs.

“Ev­ery­thing is pos­si­ble,” he said. “In one mo­ment you stay here, in an­other mo­ment an­other per­son re­places you in your job.”

Asked if he would ex­tend his con­tract with Chelsea, he added: “In this case, I think the club has to de­cide to send me away.”

Conte, who has been linked with jobs in Italy and with Paris Sain­tGer­main in France, was then asked if he would re­sign. He said: “No.”

Conte in­sisted he is happy at Chelsea, will con­tinue to work as a pro­fes­sional and “never give up”.

He added: “For the man­ager of this club it’s nor­mal to have this type of sit­u­a­tion, also if you won last sea­son the league and you reached the fi­nal in FA Cup.”

Conte’s po­si­tion has been sub­ject of spec­u­la­tion re­gard­ing a ru­moured frus­tra­tion over re­cruit­ment.

He has con­tin­u­ally de­scribed trans­fer busi­ness – plus player con­tracts, with Eden Haz­ard and Thibaut Cour­tois’ deals on the agenda – as a club mat­ter in re­cent weeks. And Conte’s com­ments on Alexis Sanchez yes­ter­day may be in­ter­preted as ques­tion­ing Chelsea’s ap­proach.

The 48-year-old ex­pressed his ad­mi­ra­tion for Sanchez, whose time at Arse­nal ap­pears to be com­ing to an end, ei­ther in the Jan­uary trans­fer win­dow or this sum­mer when his Gun­ners con­tract ex­pires.

Sanchez has been linked with Manch­ester City, with Manch­ester United re­port­edly en­ter­ing the bid­ding.

Conte was asked why Chelsea ap­par­ently have not joined the race for Sanchez, with Michy Bat­shuayi fail­ing to con­vince as a back-up to Al­varo Mo­rata.

“I don’t know how I can an­swer you,” Conte added. “I can give my opin­ion to my club for ev­ery sit­u­a­tion but then they have to make the best de­ci­sion, and that is right.”

Conte was asked if he was frus­trated watch­ing other teams strengthen, when Chelsea have been more cir­cum­spect.

He said: “I un­der­stand that the other teams try to kill (ri­val) teams and to an­tic­i­pate the sit­u­a­tion. This is the real trans­fer mar­ket, not to wait un­til the last mo­ment to buy the play­ers.”

Conte is wary of to­day’s vis­i­tors. “At this mo­ment maybe Le­ices­ter is the worst team for us to face,” he added.

Nar­row es­cape

Conte re­vealed he had a nar­row es­cape when high winds blew a glass ta­ble top off a roof ter­race and on to his car parked at Chelsea’s Sur­rey train­ing base.

The Ital­ian head coach ex­pressed re­lief that no-one was hurt in the in­ci­dent ear­lier this month.

“It was an ac­ci­dent, an in­cred­i­ble ac­ci­dent,” Conte. “I was hav­ing my lunch when this hap­pened. The wind brought a big (piece of ) glass on my car.

“If in that mo­ment there is a per­son very close to my car, I don’t know what (might have) hap­pened.”

“In one mo­ment you stay here, in an­other mo­ment a per­son re­places you” – Conte

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