This is not exactly what Chelsea’s fans will want to hear on a Monday morning after a resounding 4-0 win at Stoke as the Blues moved up to third in the Premier League table.
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Antonio Conte, who delivered the Premier League title in his first season in charge of the Blues, and his first season in England, in 2016-17, has been speaking of his desire to return to his homeland.
Conte, 48, spoke to Italian radio station RadioUno about his experience in the Premier League and left the door wide-open for a return to Serie A in the coming months as he admitted he misses Italy.
“I miss it, that’s beyond doubt,” Conte said. “Italy is my homeland, so once I have had some good experiences, formative experiences, important and life-changing experiences, I’ll be back. I don’t know when but that’s the aim.
“It’s always difficult to predict the future. Us managers have the most precarious job of all. Today you’re working, tomorrow you’re out. I want to succeed, to finish one project and make the right decision about the next. This experience has given me so much, has improved me so much, but perhaps in the future I won’t be a manager. Perhaps I’ll work as a director of football. I don’t know.”
Conte has been linked with the managers job at Inter Milan and with comments like this, those links will not go away.
Adding further fuel to the fire was his decision to only signed an improved contract over the summer rather than extending his stay at Stamford Bridge. Conte’s current deal is due to expire at the end of the 2018-19 season.
After a tough summer and a tough start to the season which saw a feud with Diego Costa dominate the talk surrounding Chelsea, a loss to Arsenal in the Community Shield, an opening day defeat at home to Burnley, plus some questionable dealings in the transfer market, the pressure was piling on Conte.
His team have responded with five wins in their next six games in all competitions and are right up there with the early pacesetters in the Premier League.
That said, the fact that Conte was under any pressure whatsoever was a joke considering what he had achieved last season when nobody expected Chelsea to seriously challenge for the title. Therein lies why he could want out when his current deal at Chelsea is up, or maybe even sooner than that.
In situations like this I often think about what Eric Cantona did: leave before anybody else expects you to and you’ll go out, and remain, a hero.