Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel said the Italian manager was among the reasons why he left Stamford Bridge earlier last season.
Antonio Conte told reporters the Nigerian midfielder was keen on a move to Chinese Super League to make a new experience following 11 years with the Blues.
However, Mikel himself believes Conte’s lack of respect and appreciation towards ‘players who have been there before and who made this club what it is today’ made the difference in his decision to leave the West London club in 2017.
Speaking ahead of international friendly game against England National team at Wembley, he said: “Definitely it was the right time [to leave] because when you have a manager who… you have to come in whoever you are – manager or player – there are people who have been there before who made this club what it is today”.
“Chelsea was nowhere near what it is 10, 15 years ago. There are players that build and build and build, then it’s all about respect. When you don’t get that from you deal with it, you move on.
“My connection with the club has not changed because of the manager or because of a certain person. My relationship with the club remains. I am a blue and I want to remain that way for years and years to come”.
Obi Mikel spoke out also on Roman Abramovich: “It doesn’t concern me at all. The club is in really good hands, run by Marina [Granovskaia] now. She loves the club. I think she makes decisions purely on the betterment of the club, which is how a club should be run. She does exactly what Roman wants her to do”.
“Roman loves the club. He has devoted his time, money into this football club. He has made Chelsea what it is today. I don’t care what anyone says, Roman made Chelsea what Chelsea is today and I think, because of the amount of wealth he has brought into this country, everybody owes him a little bit of appreciation.”