Antonio Conte eager to extend Chelsea contract for ‘many years’

Date published: Friday 26th May 2017 7:00

Antonio Conte is eager to extend his Chelsea contract and insists he would love to stay at the club for many years to come.

The Italian has already led Chelsea to the Premier League title in his first season in England and will secure the double if his side beat Arsenal in Saturday’s FA Cup final.

Inter Milan have been credited with an interest in Conte this summer but he has two years left on his current deal and is keen to sign an extension.

“If the club give me the possibility to stay here and to extend my contract, for sure I am available to do this,” Conte said.

“But we have the same idea about the future. The way we have to do things together, to improve the squad and the team.

“But, I repeat, I’m happy for this season and am happy to stay here. I hope to stay here for many years.”

Former Chelsea striker Gianluca Vialli this week called on Conte to emulate Sir Alex Ferguson’s lengthy tenure at Manchester United and the Blues boss said he was keen to build for the long-term.

“It would be great to do this,” Conte said. “For a coach, that’s the best solution – to stay for a long time at the same club and build, with the club, something important.

“But you know very well that modern football is dangerous. Our job depends a lot on the results.

“I think the only way that I know, to convince the club I should stay a long time, is to work very hard with my players. For sure, that is my hope.”

Arsene Wenger is into his 21st year as Arsenal manager but the Frenchman is yet to confirm his plans for next season.

The Gunners are chasing redemption at Wembley after missing out on Champions League qualification in what could be Wenger’s final match in charge.

“When you stay for a long time at the same team – we’re talking about a great team, not a small team – we must consider him like one of the best managers in history,” Conte said.

“For sure, I don’t trust that tomorrow will be the last game for Arsene.

“I think he deserves to work with Arsenal because he showed, in these 20 years, he is a good manager. He did a good job.

“Only this season they missed out on the Champions League. In England, this target, sometimes you can undervalue this.”

Chelsea undoubtedly start as favourites to lift the cup after finishing 18 points ahead of Arsenal.

“We have to forget that we won the league and be concentrated instead on this target,” Conte said.

“In this moment it’s very important to keep the right concentration. I think that, in this aspect, we could start as underdogs because we won the league.

“We won the league and we celebrated the league.

“Instead, we face a team who lost out on the possibility to play in the Champions League next season and they have only this possibility to save their season.”

Even if the game proves not to be Wenger’s last at Arsenal, it will certainly be John Terry’s farewell to Chelsea. The 36-year-old is leaving this summer, 19 years after making his debut.

“Our target, our aim, is to reach another trophy and to see him lift this trophy,” Conte said. “I have this dream. Also, my players have this dream.”

Chelsea and Arsenal both cancelled plans for a victory parade on Sunday after the UK’s terror alert was raised to ‘critical’ following Monday’s attack in Manchester.

Conte began his press conference on Friday by expressing solidarity with the bereaved families and called for a show of strength at the match this weekend.

“This situation, for sure, creates a bit of difficulty in your mind,” Conte said.

“If you start to think we are always in danger, then we have died before we die. A game of football or a concert is a moment you must live with passion, with passion and enthusiasm.

“When this type of situation happens, for sure, you are a bit scared. But we must continue to live and face every situation in the right way.”

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