Chelsea vs Leicester: Antonio Conte sees the funny side of false reports that he'd been sacked

Bookmakers triggered reports that Conte was about to be sacked after suspending the market on his apparent imminent dismissal

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The Independent Football

Antonio Conte has admitted he smiled at the false reports that he was about to be sacked by Chelsea as he dismissed the rumours in his press conference on Friday ahead of this weekend’s Premier League encounter with Leicester City.

Two bookmakers suspended the market on Conte being the next Premier League manager to be axed after seeing a flurry of bets on the Italian’s future, but The Independent confirmed on Thursday that the reports were false and that the club had no intention of getting rid of Conte.

Having taken charge of the club in the summer, it would certainly be a drastic measure to dismiss Conte after just four months at the helm. But Conte faced the media on Friday as planned and admitted that the stories of his demise had given him plenty to laugh at.

"I take this with a smile,” Conte said when asked about the rumours. “I'm trying to find who put the money (on). We are working very hard to change the situation of the past."

Chelsea have worked their way through six permanent managers in the last five years, and Conte was keen to stress that he sees himself at Stamford Bridge for the long haul.

He can call on the availability of captain John Terry again for this weekend’s encounter after confirming that the defender has recovered from an ankle injury that has kept him sidelined since the 2-2 draw with Swansea on 12 September. In that time, Chelsea have won just one match from five and the defence has been a big concerns for the Blues, with Arsenal scoring three goals against them while Liverpool, Leicester and Swansea all managed to score twice.

"Yes, he's [Terry] available,” said Conte. “He came back in the middle of the week and did the whole training session."

It means that Conte will continue with a three-man defence, although he has not yet made up his mind over who that will be made up of.

"Now I have four central defenders and I have to take the decision for three. One must go on the bench,” he added.

Chelsea will be without influential midfielder Willian too after the Brazil international was afforded extra time off on compassionate grounds following the death of his mother, Maria Jose Borges, on Wednesday.

 


"For Willian we are very sad, because we knew the problem with his mum. We are very sad,” Conte said, with the club also issuing a statement during the week to send their condolences to Willian and his family.

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