Antonio Conte laughs off suggestion Chelsea will struggle in transfer market without Champions League football

Conte made yet another dig at the Chelsea board

Jack Pitt-Brooke
Friday 16 March 2018 19:33 GMT
Antonio Conte is not happy with the Chelsea board
Antonio Conte is not happy with the Chelsea board (Getty Images)

Antonio Conte laughed off the suggestion that missing out on the Champions League will hit Chelsea in the summer transfer market, pointing to how last season’s Premier League title win did not get him the players he wanted either.

In the latest of Conte’s series of digs against the Chelsea board, Conte used the last question of his press conference on Friday afternoon to remind the world how let down he felt by last summer’s transfer window.

It was a similar complaint that Conte made before the Manchester City game earlier this month, when Conte said that Chelsea do not match his own “great ambition”, and that he “does not have money to spend”, unlike Pep Guardiola at City. While City race into the distance this season, Chelsea are left in fifth, four points behind fourth-placed Liverpool and facing the prospect of another season out of the Champions League.

Conte was asked whether no Champions League football in 2018-19 might kill Chelsea’s chances of attracting top players this summer. He pointed out that Chelsea had no Champions League football in 2016-17 – the year he won them the title – in part because players stayed. “Don’t forget that two years ago Chelsea finished 10th, with many players of this season,” he said. “And they decided to continue to play for this club, two years ago. Many players, they were here, when they finished 10th.”

But when Conte was asked again about the impact of no Champions League football on the transfer market, he could not help himself but refer to the perceived disappointment of this summer. “If you remember last season, we won the title, and then...,” he said, not needing to finish his sentence.

Asked again, Conte repeated a similar answer. “I don’t know if it’s a problem to attract a great player or not,” he said. “I repeat, last season we won the title, and you can see our transfer market. I think this is not the most important thing if you are in the Champions League or not. Last season we won the title.”

Conte reminded his players that they all shared in the success of winning the Premier League together last season, which means that they must now stick together and share the blame for this season’s disappointments. Rather than Conte taking all the blame himself. “Like last season, when we won the title and reached the final of the FA Cup, it is always the same,” Conte said. “We must be ready to share the responsibility with the club, the players, me and my staff. I don’t like to speak about myself. We have to speak about the club, the players. To use ‘we’, not ‘I’.”

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