FA Cup final 2018: Antonio Conte claims ‘I will always be a Chelsea hero’ even if he’s sacked after title success

Italian is widely expected to leave Chelsea in the summer following a mixed second season in charge

Samuel Lovett
Saturday 19 May 2018 08:06
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FA Cup final in numbers

Antonio Conte has insisted that he will always be a “hero” for Chelsea’s fans after clinching the Premier League title in his first season in charge at the club. This comes amid heightened speculation over his future at the club after failing to secure a place in next season’s Champions League.

The Italian is widely expected to leave Chelsea in the summer following a mixed second season in charge. After the heights of his 2016/17 title success, Conte has struggled to recapture the magic of his first term at Stamford Bridge and was only capable of guiding the Blues to fifth in the table this time round.

Still, Conte has the chance to lift a second trophy in as many years when Chelsea run out against Manchester United in Saturday’s FA Cup final. But regardless of the outcome of this afternoon’s encounter, the 48-year-old is convinced of his legacy at the Bridge.

On the topic of Chelsea’s fall from grace over the past 12 months, Conte said: “I didn’t change my commitment for the club. My commitment has always been the same. Maybe this season we worked harder than last season. I don’t know if something has changed … we were heroes for Chelsea’s fans. Now our stance, me and the players, has changed… I don’t know. But in my soul and my heart, I’m always a hero because I gave 120 per cent, [and] also this season to solve the problems.”

When asked whether Saturday's FA Cup final will have a bearing on his future, the Italian replied: “I don’t know, I don’t know. It’s not a question for me.

“I don’t think I’d be the right person to say: ‘Okay, if we win I plan this situation,’ or if we don’t, ‘we plan another situation’. I’m not interested in this. I’m interested in winning the final. This is the most important thing for me, for my players.”

In spite of the speculation over his position, Conte maintained that sometimes lifting a trophy wasn’t always enough to keep those in power satisfied.

“As you know very well, our job is very difficult,” he said. “Sometimes you can win but the club decides to sack you anyway because they have a reason to do this. For sure, I protect my work. I’m very pleased about my work. Also this season. Because I think, this season, I worked better than last season. And, for sure, I worked harder than last season.”

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