Conte on Inter Milan talk and ‘the importance of family’

Date published: Friday 3rd March 2017 2:15

Antonio Conte has reiterated his commitment to Chelsea after reports linked him with Inter Milan and says he is “working” to bring his family to England.

The 46-year-old former Juventus and Italy head coach has rejuvenated Chelsea this season and was this week named in speculation concerning a return to his homeland with Inter in the summer.

But Conte says his focus is with Chelsea, having begun a three-year contract last July.

“My situation is very clear,” Conte said.

“I have a contract with Chelsea. We are trying to do something important with the club, for the present, for the future.

“Every coach, when you start work with a new club, you hope to stay many, many years, because it means you are working very well.

“You have the possibility to improve your players, to improve your team and to grow together.”

Conte admitted it had not been easy living apart from wife Elisabetta and daughter Vittoria, who have stayed in Italy so his daughter can complete the current school year.

Conte added: “The only problem for me this season is the family is missing me.

“My family stay in Italy and I’m working, I’m working for the future to try to bring them here and to stay together.”

 

Chelsea, 10 points clear of second-placed Tottenham entering this weekend’s fixtures, play at West Ham on Monday.

The Blues won the 2014-15 title but finished 10th last season as Leicester won the title.

The last two championship-winning managers – Jose Mourinho at Chelsea and Leicester’s Claudio Ranieri – have lost their jobs the following season.

And Conte is aware of the precarious nature of management, particularly at Chelsea where owner Roman Abramovich has regularly wielded the managerial axe.

“The story tells this, but I’m not worried about this,” Conte added.

“With my players I want to work, to work very hard. I trust a lot in my work and I think we have to continue in this way to work very hard and to try to do something important also in this season, because we are in the right position and we have the possibility to continue in this way.”

Chelsea lost twice in September before a 13-game winning run in the Premier League ended at Tottenham on January 4.

The only game the Blues lost during that three-month sequence was at West Ham in the EFL Cup in a match marred by violence at the London Stadium.

Conte’s side, who have just two defeats and two draws in 24 games in all competitions, also play in the final match of the weekend, so will know how their title opponents have fared.

He added: “For sure, we want to try to take three points in this game.

“We will know the other results of the other teams. (There will be) positive or negative pressure, but we are ready to play this game and to try to do better than the last game.”

Conte hinted that Chelsea have been preparing in an effort to combat the aerial threat of West Ham’s Andy Carroll.

“We are preparing different solutions also to try to limit the strength of our opponent,” Conte said.

 

Conte on Hazard fitness

Eden Hazard is expected to be fit after receiving a knock in training.

Conte added: “He got kicked. Nothing serious.”

This week has also seen speculation over the future of Michy Batshuayi, the Belgium striker signed from Marseille for £33million.

Batshuayi has had limited opportunities this season and was linked with a loan move to West Ham in January.

Conte – whether discussing his own situation or that of one of his players – prefers to focus on the present and says Batshuayi can feature more often, if he proves his ability in training.

The Italian added: “Now he’s working very well for us. He must continue to work and then anything can happen.

“If he shows me he deserves to play, then I put him in.”

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