Antonio Conte has been in a feisty mood lately — or maybe it’s just his constantly improving English? — ready to fight anyone and everyone foolish enough to cross his path. One day it’s Mourinho, another day it’s Wenger. Today it’s the media and their constant rumor-mongering, which Conte couldn’t help but laugh at.
“From the start of the season you are repeating always the same question and at one point I have to tell you, okay, if you want to sack me it’s okay, but as I said before — and I’m always saying the same things — for this club, for the manager of this club it’s normal to have this type of situation.
“Even if you won the league last season and reach the final of the FA Cup, this is the history of this club for the manager. I repeat, I have a lot of experience to deal with this type of situation. But there is something strange when after the first game we lost against Burnley and the press pushed quickly to sack me for another coach. I think in other clubs this does not happen.
“As I said you must have a lot of experience and you must trust in your work and in what we are doing here in these last two seasons. In football anything can happen and we must be ready, but we must never give up.”
-Antonio Conte; source: YouTube
Headlines of course picked up on the last bit (just as they always did when Courtois would say that about his contract), but Conte made sure to remind everyone that he does in fact have another year left on his current contract and that the only way he’s leaving at the moment is if Chelsea sack him.
“I’m happy. I’m enjoying my period here. It was not simple for me. It was my first experience in another country. For sure I am enjoying the experience, staying in England, living this atmosphere and working with my players.
“I have another year of contract and in this case the club has to decide to send me away. We have started big work here together with the players and the club, and for sure when you start work, you need time to improve your work and to create a solid basis.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC
This should be the final word on this matter, but of course it won’t be. Rumors of Conte’s exit will continue because that’s what rumors do. They will continue to claim that he’s leaving at the end of the season, either of his own volition or because of some power players behind the scenes. And if that doesn’t come to pass, they will just continue repeating those stories until it does eventually, one day, happen.
So why worry about it? Conte seems perfectly happy; Chelsea seem happy enough as well. We all understand the reality of the financial situation — for example, when Conte was asked if Chelsea should go after Alexis and try to stop City from adding him, a player he very much rates, the answer was well, what use would it be, “City have shown that if they want to take a player, they go and buy that player” — and that’s the framework within which we have to work and build and improve.
It won’t be easy, but Conte seems up for the challenge still. He might succeed, he might not. He could be here another year, another month, another decade. You never know in football, after all. What we do know is Conte will be committed to the cause until the very end. What more can you ask for?