Antonio Conte has once again dismissed reports linking him with a move to Inter Milan, expressing his dissatisfaction that “other people” continue to speculate over his future while stressing that he is “very happy” at Chelsea.
The Italian has garnered wide praise for his first season in charge at Stamford Bridge, having guided the Blues to within touching distance of the Premier League title, but has been subsequently linked with a move to Serie A side Inter Milan.
Andrea Pastorello, brother of the Italian agent Federico, a friend of Conte’s, has fuelled suggestion that the manager’s spell in England could prove short-lived, while numerous reports from the Italian press have alleged that the manager’s family is pushing for him to return home.
But speaking ahead of side’s Premier League clash with Bournemouth on Saturday, Conte reaffirmed his commitment to Chelsea.
“I read this interview about Andrea Pastorello, I don’t know why this person has spoken about me,” he said.
“I am very happy to stay here, this is the most important thing. I don’t like other people to speak for me.
“I have two more years on my contract with Chelsea, this is the truth.
“I think it’s normal to involve my name (with Inter) because I worked in Italy, I think they want to come back for me in Italy.”
Chelsea vs Manchester City player ratings
Chelsea vs Manchester City player ratings
1/22 Thibaut Courtois - 6
Completely at fault for Aguero's equaliser - a rare lapse in concentration. Showed his strengths moments later though to deny Sane a one-on-one chance on goal.
2/22 Cesar Azpilicueta - 6
Decision making was on point for much of the evening and kept a calm head under pressure.
3/22 Kurt Zouma - 7
A respectable return to the starting line-up. After months on the sideline he seemed to cope well with both the pace and intensity of the game.
4/22 David Luiz - 7
A fierce and fiery performance from the Brazilian. Hit hard in his challenges and dealt with Aguero well.
5/22 Gary Cahill - 6
Solid as ever in his reading of the game and challenges, both on the deck and in the air.
6/22 Marcos Alonso - 6
Handled his defensive duties well and proved effective on the front foot.
7/22 N'Golo Kante - 6
Industrious as ever with his running and positioning but one of his more quiet evenings. Conceded a sloppy foul on the edge of his own box which City nearly equalised from.
8/22 Cesc Fabregas - 6
Kept the ball moving well in the middle and was relatively effective in dictating the flow of the game.
9/22 Pedro - 7
Dealt well with his defensive responsibilities tonight and got well forward to put the City defence under pressure. Questionable touches/passes here and there but overall a good night from him.
10/22 Eden Hazard - 8
Once again, Hazard proved to be the difference. Took his first goal well from a difficult angle and reacted well in his penalty attempt to grab Chelsea's second.
11/22 Diego Costa - 6
Another mixed performance. Menaced the City backline with his physical presence but his hold-up play was found wanting at times. It ultimately fell to others to make the difference tonight.
12/22 Willy Caballero - 6
Completely misjudged Hazard’s first goal. Despite taking an unfortunate deflection off Kompany, he should have done better in dealing with the strike. To his credit, he saved Hazard’s initial penalty kick but couldn’t stop the forward from following up.
13/22 Fernandinho - 5
His reckless challenge on Pedro cost City dearly and handed the home side their second goal. Too hot-headed.
14/22 John Stones - 6
Dominated in his aerial battles but struggled to deal with Hazard’s pace and quick feet. Had a glorious chance to equalise in the second half but couldn’t find the goal.
15/22 Vincent Kompany - 5
For all his fight and heart, there was a certain sharpness missing to his game tonight. His weak positioning afforded Hazard the space for his first goal while his lack of pace saw him struggle to keep up with the tempo of the game at times.
16/22 Gael Clichy - 6
Linked up with City's forward players well and was a nuisance in getting in behind the Blues defence.
17/22 Fabian Delph - 5
A series of early, well-timed challenges boded well but he looked out of depth at times. Not a surprise given his lack of Premier League football this season.
18/22 Jesus Navas - 5
A quiet evening as a whole. Had very little say for himself.
19/22 Kevin de Bruyne - 6
Sloppy passing in the centre of park let team-mates down on occasion. Kept him self busy nonetheless and wasn’t afraid to take on his opposite men.
20/22 David Silva - 7
One of City’s more effective players - especially in the first half. His slick passing and clever link-up play kept the visitors’ midfield ticking over. Created numerous chances too and found himself well positioned to set up City’s equaliser. Couldn't find that all important equaliser though.
21/22 Leroy Sane - 6
Had the chance to put City ahead after Aguero’s equaliser in the first half. Flashed with brilliance but couldn't sustain such form throughout the night.
22/22 Sergio Aguero - 6
A classic poachers finish for City's goal. Certainly kept the Chelsea backline busy but it wasn't to be his night.
Pastorello has done little to stifle the notion his compatriot might be tempted by a return to Italy, despite Chelsea remaining confident Conte will sign an extension to his contract, which runs to 2019, before the end of the season.
“Will Conte stay at Chelsea? If he wins a title and begins the cycle, the objective is one of continuity,” he was quoted as saying. “But if offers from clubs arrive, new opportunities may arise, especially at historical clubs.”
But when asked earlier in the week whether he will be at Chelsea next season, Conte said: “Yes, for the next season.”
Following their 2-1 victory against Manchester City at the Bridge on Wednesday night, Conte’s men travel to Dean Court on Saturday looking to maintain their seven-point lead at the top of the table.
Chelsea now sit in first place with 72 points to their name and eight games of the season left to play.Reuse content