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Ancelotti implores media to stop with Conte rumors, as Abramovich visits training ground

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Italian Football Federation Hall Of  Fame Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

In a high-pressure environment such as the one that exists at Chelsea Football Club, managers have little to no room for mistakes, experiments, and often simply just to breathe. Be it the nagging media constantly trying to extricate juicy headlines; or the history of the club’s handling of successful coaches who dared to lose a few games after winning it all, there may never be a time for any coach in charge to actually sit back and relax at Cobham. The lifespan of an average Chelsea manager can be measured in months.

Carlo Ancelotti, who managed Chelsea from 2009 to 2011, in addition to some of the biggest teams in world football, is certainly well aware of this, perhaps more so than any other Abramovich Era head coach. Carlo was sacked just minutes after Chelsea’s final game of the 2010-11 season, in the corridor of Everton’s Goodison Park, as the Blues finished a lowly second to Manchester United, who also bested the team in the Champions League knockout rounds. Ancelotti had led Chelsea on a scintillating 103-goal campaign the season before to win the league. This did not matter at the time of his dismissal, nor did Mourinho’s title a few years later or Di Matteo’s Champions League glory in 2012. Both Chelsea legends were gone before Christmas.

Despite Ancelotti’s history, or perhaps precisely because of it, his name has popped up in the managerial rumour mill as Chelsea’s mixed form and performances have led to constant examination of Antonio Conte’s future at the club. Ancelotti was sacked by Bayern for far less earlier this season, but as he’s said a few times before, he has no plans to get back into management until next season and he’s certainly not going to take on an interim position anywhere ... so would the media kindly leave his friend Antonio alone?

"Every day there are new speculations about my future: Croatia, China, Everton, Chelsea - don't make my friend Antonio upset, I always talk to him.”

"I am looking for new opportunities but not right now. My contract [pay-off] with Bayern expires at the end of the season and that's when I'll start listening to new offers.”

“I want a serious project that can give me time and serenity, even though I know it’s not easy. I am just waiting and something will come.”

"The Premier League is a very interesting league of course. The atmosphere is amazing there, even if Bundesliga stadiums are also great."

-Carlo Ancelotti; Source: Radio Anch’io Sport via Sports Illustrated

Nice try from Carlo, but it’s unlikely to stop much of the speculation about either his or Conte’s future. That’s just how it is; this is our reality.

There is also the ever-looming presence of Roman Abramovich, the club owner who serves as the perfect archetype of a ruthless boss whose appearances are often a sign of changes to come, but in reality, more often than not, just show his continued interest and investment (both financial and emotional) in the club and (minor) involvement (for better or worse) in the day to the day activities. Conte, who faced similar questions about training ground visits last fall, guarantees that he maintains the same good relationship with Abramovich as last season and they all remain focused on doing what is best for Chelsea.

"Yes, Mr Abramovich was in Cobham on Sunday after the Bournemouth game to watch the training, to speak. But it's normal, this.”

"Honestly, we spoke about the Bournemouth game and then the first game against Rome. We spoke about this."

-Antonio Conte; Source: London Evening Standard

To be clear, the visit actually happened last week, when Chelsea were in the midst of winning three games in a row, rather than this week, when we’re dealing with the fallout from the 3-0 loss to Roma.

“My relationship [with Abramovich] is the same as last season. I don't see a difference between this season and last season. I know I have to do my job. My only worry is to do my job with all myself.”

“I repeat: I'm doing my job in this way so, for this reason, when I finish my work here and go home, I'm satisfied with what I'm doing this season for this club, and last season for this club, and for months.”

-Antonio Conte; Source: London Evening Standard

There is still pressure of course on Conte to find a winning path for Chelsea, especially in tomorrow’s game against Manchester United. Good thing he’s not unfamiliar with this kind of situation...

"I feel always the same pressure. The same pressure. Because, before the game, I feel the pressure to win. In every game. Last season it was the same. When you stay on top of the table you feel the pressure to win because you want to stay on top of the table.”

"Above all for me because I'm a passionate man with a great enthusiasm. I need to feel this type of pressure. Yes, I like the pressure. I was born with the pressure."

-Antonio Conte; Source: London Evening Standard

And now it is time to thrive on this situation.

Forza!