Thus far, Antonio Conte's first foray outside of Italy has been nothing short of amazing, leading Chelsea from a 10th place Premier League finish last year to topping the charts this year with 63 points from 26 matches and a 10-point lead over 2nd place Tottenham Hotspur.
However, rumours from the Italian media started to brew in earnest last week, claiming that Conte wanted to leave Chelsea due to problems with the club's management, as well as his adaptation to the new country since his family did not move with him to London. Following various reports in the English to counter the nonsense from Italy, the boss himself has quashed the fake news when speaking with reporters after the London Football Awards, where he was named Manager of the Year.
“I am very happy for this experience because for me and my family it is incredible. For sure, in this season my wife and my daughter stayed in Italy but I hope they come and stay here also because I need them."
“Yes, I hope [I can manage here for years]. Usually, when you start a project with a new team you want to stay many years and to build something important with the club. For sure, to build you must work many years to have the opportunity to grow with your players and to try to win also because when you are the manager in a great club, the imperative is to try to win but also to play great football."
“It wasn’t easy for me when you arrive at the start of the season after a bad year. But I am pleased for the players because they showed me great commitment to fight and to come back very soon to fight for the title."
“The most important thing is the success of the club, the players and the manager. I was sure to arrive here and also to compete in this league with other good managers. Now, it is important to continue in this way because anything can happen until the end but we want to continue to stay on top of the table.”
Things are going very well right now, but there are still twelve games in the season, and none of them will be easy. This is where winners are born and made and confirmed.
“I have players that won a lot in their career and they have the right experience to face this type of situation. For sure, from now until the end, the pressure will be very high but we must live with this and we have good experience to face this situation.”
-Antonio Conte; Source: London Evening Standard
Hopefully this is indeed just the start to a long and successful era with Conte at the helm at Chelsea — however long any such designs may last in modern football. Forza!