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Chelsea boss Antonio Conte dismissed what his friend and former team-mate Gianluca Vialli said last week speaking to Sky Sport Italia. 

The former Blues player and coach said: “Conte can’t wait to leave Chelsea, he can’t stand that they sell or buy players without consulting him.”

But, ahead of Chelsea’s London derby meeting with West Ham on Sunday, Conte hit back by claiming he has not spoken to Vialli for some time.

“Don’t forget that now Gianluca Vialli for many years has been working for Sky, he is a journalist,” he said.

“He is a friend but he is a journalist and I have great respect for him but I can tell you I have not been talking to him since one year.

“Now I think his role brings him to say something about my situation. This is not the only person that is doing this.”

“With Gianluca, we played together for many years at Juventus, he was my captain, we won the Champions League together and I consider him a friend. I understand because he is now a journalist and he has to give news to Sky and to try to speak about my situation.

“Those who know me very well, they know me, they know that in this moment I am very angry. I am very sad for this situation.

“Those who know me very well know I am trying to put all of myself to change this situation because I have great responsibility.”

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Chelsea legend and former Conte’s team-mate Gianluca Vialli said the Italian coach “can’t wait to leave Chelsea, as he can’t stand that they don’t consult him for transfer market deals”

The Blues manager seems increasingly likely to either be sacked or walk away at the end of the season, or even before that, as today’s 3-1 home defeat to Spurs practically destroys hopes of a top four Premier League finish.

“Conte can’t wait to leave Chelsea,” Vialli told Sky Sport Italia in his role as a pundit.

“He can’t stand that they sell or buy players without consulting him. The truth is, Chelsea would like a manager who is more of a club man.”

If Conte is released, it’s entirely possible he could return to the Italy bench, which remains vacant.

“Whether it’s the Nazionale or Paris Saint-Germain, he’ll find a place where he can start winning something important again. There will be a queue of contracts for him to sign.”

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Chelsea lost at home against Tottenham after 28 years but Antonio Conte thinks his team deserved more from the derby against Spurs.

Speaking to Sky Sport Italia after the final whistle, the Blues boss said:

“For sure 8 points with 7 games to go are a lot, looking also at the teams we have ahead of us and the season they are playing is not easy, we knew this was going to be tough since the beginning of the season.

“I cannot say anything about my lads’ commitment, we saw their quality today, but we miss determination in the the games’ key moments.

“For sure to concede a goal one minute before half-time was not positive for us, since I think we deserved to finish the first half 1-0 or 2-0, that goal broke the confidence we got on the pitch until that moment.

“The goal we took was really avoidable, they surprised us.

“I didn’t have many substitutes also because I lost two men in the last days: Zappacosta had an issue in his tendon, Pedro had another physical issue that stopped him, we cannot make up anything else.”

Asked about his future plans, Conte replied:

“Nothing changes about my future, we trying to do our best, we are working very hard, we are trying to find solutions without getting crazy, we cannot create solutions we don’t have.

“You know my reply really well and you also know how much my deal lasts, I don’t imagine anything else.”

On what remains of the season, the Italian manager says:

“We have to try to give 100%, when the campaign ends everything is really clear, every team get what they deserve in the end of the season.”

 

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Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola believes the Blues should confirm Antonio Conte as their coach for next season, but it’s crucial, for the club and the Italian manager, to overcome their problems.

I think he [Conte] is an asset for the club. He’s a good coach, without doubt – he’s actually one of the best around. Zola told talkSPORT. “At the moment there are certainly some problems. If the club and manager want to continue – and I think that will be good for the club – they should sort them out because the competition out there is so incredible. There is no league in the world where you see teams get so much better every year – it’s so competitive off the pitch and on the pitch.”

 

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Chelsea's Andreas Christensen during UEFA Champions League - Group C match between Chelsea and FK Qarabag at Stanford Bridge, London 12 Sept 2017

Chelsea have been handed a huge blow with the news Andreas Christensen has been sent home from international duty with Denmark after appearing tired and not up to full fitness.

The former Borussia Monchengladbach defender one of the first names on Antonio Conte’s teamsheet, and with huge games coming up for Chelsea in the next few weeks, the club will want him back fit as soon as possible.

“Andreas Christensen has been sent home to London,” said Denmark coach Age Hareide.

“We do not want to take any risks with him.

“We have called up Peter Ankersen and Lasse Nielsen, so we are adequately covered in defence.

“I cannot say exactly what is wrong with Christensen, but it is a little fatigue.”

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Few weeks ago, when Chelsea played Manchester City, Eden Hazard complained because he touched the ball very few times and, according to the Belgian star, the reason was the position Blues manager Antonio Conte decided Hazard himself had to play.

Now, Belgian coach Roberto Martinez ahead of Belgium‘s next week friendly vs Saudi Arabia, said he will use Hazard in a very different way he played recently at Chelsea.

Eden is not a false nine, for me,” Martinez said. “At Chelsea, that can work with guys like Pedro around him, but with us we still have Romelu [Lukaku], Michy [Batshuayi], even Dries [Mertens] can play there. I’m not going to put Hazard there.”

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Alessandro Costacurta, the Italian federation vice-commissioner, has made it crystal clear that Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is the top pick for the vacant Azzurri job.

The Ïtalian national team had failed to qualify for Russia 2018 World Cup for the first time in 60 years after losing the playoffs to Sweden last November.

Conte was in charge of Italy prior to taking the reigns at Stamford Bridge and, unnder his management, Italy reached the quarter-finals of the 2016 European Championship.

Speaking to Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, the former AC Milan defender has openly courted Conte to leave Chelsea and return to the Italian job:

“I haven’t chosen yet but I think Conte is the one who could do the best. I’ll definitely talk with him in a couple of months,” Costacurta claimed.

“He’s already shown he knows how to be national team coach while the others haven’t yet.

“That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be happy with Mancini or with Ancelotti, although (Ancelotti) seems to have removed himself from consideration.”

Conte has still got one year left on his current Chelsea deal, but he has looked unhappy in west London every since the Blues won last season’s Premier League.

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In its recent history Chelsea has often appointed Italian managers and Serie A players, so with the reports of Antonio Conte potentially leaving at the end of the season rumours about a possible substitute have started to go around.

Blues legend Gianfranco Zola was asked about potentially returning to Stamford Bridge along with current Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri, one of the canditates to replace Conte, should he leave:

Will we both head to Chelsea? Every other week they link me to Chelsea in some capacity- he told Gazzetta dello Sport.

But I know nothing about this hypothesis. On top of that after Birmingham I decided to take a sabbatical year.

“What is Sarri’s style like? They memorize their plays, they have schemes that are hard to stop.

“The way they dominate possession reminds me of the Napoli from my days with Maradona and Careca. I think this is the right year for the scudetto”

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After tonight win against WBA Chelsea boss Antonio Conte was relieved to have found some confidence before some important clashes like the upcoming ones against Barcelona, Manchester United and Manchester City:

“What I know is that tonight was fundamental to get three points back, to win this game, especially to find again some confidence, because when you lose two matches in a row in a bad way the confidence decreases,” the Italian coach claimed after the final whistle.

“It was also important for us to have some rest and we rested for two days.

“We started the game with a few confidence, we made some mistakes, West Brom could have scored but we were back in the game, we scored and we could have scored even more goals.

 

“It was important to overcome this hard moment.

“Now we have important clashes, like the one against Barcelona, and we had to find our confidence again before facing them.”

 

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Antonio Conte sent a message to Chelsea board about his future at the club.

After winning the title last year the Italian manager is now under pressure after a bad run of results that are putting Chelsea participation to next Champions League at risk:

“You continue to work with a manager or coach not because of what he achieves in one season but because you trust in him,” Conte said.

“Then you build something with him.

“But it doesn’t mean you have to win something, because that’s not simple. Not easy. Especially in England.

“The way I look at it, you can win [a trophy] but, at the same time, the club might not be happy to stay with you. In that case, [they might consider] it’s right to send the coach away. At the same time, you can trust in a coach and his work and continue with him even if you don’t win, and try and build something important.

“There are two ways. There is a stupid way and an intelligent way. This is my opinion. At the same time, I have great respect for everyone’s opinion. If the club decides to send me away, I don’t know when, it’ll be because they’re not happy with my work. As you know very well, my contract expires in 2019. From my point of view, there is the will to stay and continue to work for this club.”

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