Antonio Conte has said he is now ready for “the cut and thrust” of club football with Chelsea following Italy’s Euro 2016 defeat to Germany.
The Italians suffered an agonising 6-5 defeat on penalties after a 1-1 draw against Joachim Low’s side, but Conte wasted little time in switching his attention to his new Chelsea job.
Conte admitted that he thought he would continue in his role as Italy manager, until an approach from Chelsea changed his long-term plans.
“The decision to leave the national team after two years was taken early and I don’t deny there were moments when I’d have liked to have the opportunity to continue,” he said.
“But, because of certain developments, I wasn’t able to go back on that.
“In November I thought I was continuing with the national side. Then I told the president of the Italian football federation of the great opportunity to join Chelsea Football Club.
The former Juventus manager is eager to get started in his new role and will give himself a little time to recover from Italy’s exit before fully focusing on his task at Chelsea.
He added: “I wanted to return to the cut and thrust of club football. Now, I have the opportunity to start this exciting adventure.
“Now I’ll take seven days off to charge my batteries and shift a bit of this disappointment before taking over at Chelsea. I know it will be a difficult challenge but it’s one I will cherish.”