Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has stressed that he is committed to the Blues for the remainder of his contract despite talk of him rejoining Italy in the summer. Speaking ahead of the Manchester City game, the 48-year-old reiterated his stance with his Blues contract only expiring in the summer of 2019, he said: “I think I have already answered this question, nothing has changed compared to the past… especially my answer, it has not changed.”
Conte has come from some criticism from the club’s faithful this term, but most of it has been in patches where the Premier League holders have struggled to find a winning momentum. The worst possible streak came during their defeats at the hands of Watford and Bournemouth, but the Italian managed to steady the ship with a strong performance against Barcelona in the Champions League.
Despite this, the manager’s future has come in question beyond the summer with reports suggesting that owner Roman Abramovich has already lined up a suitable replacement. Former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has already been in touch with the club, according to Spanish sources, and there is knowledge that Conte could be relieved from his duties in June.
Conte has done a formidable job with the finances offered by the club’s hierarchy, but his trend of regular criticising the club’s board for the squad depth could ultimately spell an end to his managerial stint. Nevertheless, there is plenty of motivation for both the coach and the players in the coming months with the club still alive in the FA Cup and Champions League whilst they are still in the mix for a top-four spot.
The Capital outfit fell two points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur with a 2-1 defeat to Manchester United last weekend, and they now have to earn a positive result of some sort versus Manchester City in order to avoid the gap extending further to five points. The Blues lost 1-0 to the Citizens in their previous league meeting.