'Magician' Conte spells out willingness to fight at Chelsea
Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte feels no need to seek assurances over his job security from owner Roman Abramovich despite his side's recent dip in form.
The reigning Premier League champions will look to avoid a third consecutive domestic defeat when they host high-flying Watford on Saturday, having been held to a 3-3 draw by Roma in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Conte signed a new contract at Chelsea before the start of the season that featured improved terms but no extension beyond the initial three-year deal he signed in 2016.
Speculation over recent weeks has suggested the former Italy boss could leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season and he refused to disclose the nature of any recent conversations with Abramovich when addressing a news conference before the clash at Stamford Bridge.
"I think that, about my talks with the club, it's right to keep them secret," Conte said.
"It's not important to tell the press. I think, honestly, it must be in this way. This is the right way."
Asked whether he felt he had the support of the club, the 48-year-old replied: "The support is my job, my work. This is only my support.
"I know only this support in my experience. I don't know other support. The support is my job and to put all of myself into the job.
"If this is enough, it's OK. If it's not enough, [shrugs]. But the only support I know is my job."
2 – Chelsea have lost consecutive Premier League games under Antonio Conte for just the second time (also September 2016). Glum. pic.twitter.com/9TzKmp4wSl
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 14, 2017
Conte won three consecutive Serie A titles at Juventus before talking on the Italy job, but he was keen to reference his previous roles with Siena, Bari and Arezzo as evidence of him dealing with tough times as a coach.
“Every situation is different because, when I was coach in Siena it was different; in Bari it was different; in Arezzo it was different; with the national team it was different," he said.
"Now it is different with Chelsea, facing different situations. Not the same situations. You learn every day. You must be open to learn from every experience.
"This is very important. If you think it's impossible to learn something, you are only a stupid person. I learn every day and I give everything every day."
Conte's close-season claims that Chelsea would face a difficult season on account of their renewed European commitments appear accurate at present, with respective calf and groin complaints sustained by David Luiz and Tiemoue Bakayoko against Roma adding to already considerable injury problems.
"I was a magician to anticipate it, honestly," Conte sighed, in a wry reference to his pre-season premonitions.
3 - This was the 3rd time Chelsea failed to win a CL game in which they led by 2+ goals, with all 3 happening at Stamford Bridge. Collapse. pic.twitter.com/MZO5ReJz2o
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 18, 2017
"You hope you won't have problems in your season. But, I repeat, I stay here to work. I stay here to put all myself into this club, for the fans and the players.
"For sure I'm a person who is not afraid to face the difficulties. My history speaks very clearly on that.
"I fought in the relegation zone. I started my career very badly, my first experience [at Arezzo], but I understood and learned a lot about this.
"I repeat, I have experience, a lot of experience, as a player and as a coach of facing these type of situations. But I was a magician."