Conte to be sacked imminently as Spanish press name successor

Antonio Conte is expected to be shown the door at Chelsea in the coming days after odds on him getting the sack tumbled following their 4-1 defeat to Watford.

The Blues manager in under increasing pressure with the defending champions suffering a number of poor results in recent weeks and reports suggesting he has lost the support of all but one of his players at Chelsea.

Conte addressed those rumours on Monday night in the wake of their 4-1 thrashing at Vicarage Road, but it seems Bookmakers already think he’s a dead man walking.

Bookmakers William Hill made Antonio Conte 1/3 NOT to see out the season as the Chelsea manager immediately after the game, but that price has now plummeted to 1/6. He has also been well backed to be the next manager to go and is 3/10 to be the next Premier League manager out of the door.

Furthermore, reports in Spain suggest Conte could be shown the door as early as Tuesday evening, with Roman Abramovich now having run out of patience with the Italian coach.

In addition, several of their morning papers suggest the Blues have already agreed a deal for Luis Enrique to take charge of the club, with the former Barcelona boss tipped to be appointed in the coming days. The Blues face Barca in the last 16 of the Champions League, with the first leg scheduled for February 20, while Enrique would face an emotional return to the Nou Camp for the second leg on March 14.

It’s claimed Enrique will sign an initial two-and-a-half-year deal to take charge at Stamford Bridge, while reports also state that former Barca and Chelsea full-back Juliano Belletti would be instilled as sporting director at the English champions.

Luis Enrique: Praise for Wenger

Enrique was linked to the vacant Sevilla managerial job last month but he reportedly told the Andalucian club he did not wish to take any job in the middle of the season and amid suggestions a move to Stamford Bridge had been lined up.

Conte, meanwhile, has responded to the club’s thrashing at Watford by giving his players three days off to “clear their minds” ahead of their next clash against West Brom on Monday evening.

Discussing talk he faces the sack on Monday, the Italian said: “I hope that, tonight, for once you understand me. I’m not worried. I’m not worried about my job.

“I work every day, and I give 120 per cent. Okay? If this is enough, it’s okay. Otherwise, the club can take a different decision. But I’m not worried.

“It’s very difficult because, every day and every press conference, you ask me if I’m worried. No. I’m not worried. Tomorrow is another day. I can be the Chelsea coach or not.”

In a message of defiance to his critics, Conte continued: “Where is the problem? My soul is clear. I go to sleep without a problem that maybe, maybe, I could do this or that. I try to do everything. If it’s not good, the club can make a different decision. Life goes on.”

When questioned if the players at Stamford Bridge wanted him gone, the Italian continued: “But do you think that a club can decide to sack a coach if there is not the support of the players?

“I think only here, only here, you think this. You think that the players have this power? Yes? This is wrong. This is wrong.

“If this happens, okay. But, I repeat, in my life when I was a player, I was captain of Juventus and never, ever, did I speak about a coach with my club. And, if the club tried to ask me, [I said] ‘this is not my problem’.”


William Hill betting odds:

Antonio Conte to still be manager of Chelsea on last day of 2017-18 season:  1/6 No, 7/2 Yes

Next Premier League manager to go: 3/10 Conte, 9/2 Pellegrino, 12/1 Benitez, 14/1 No manager to leave, 16/1 Sam Allardyce, 20/1 David Moyes, 25/1 Alan Pardew, 25/1 Arsene Wenger


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