Conte shakes off reports of rift with the Chelsea board

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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is keeping his head down amid reports that there is a break in relations with Blues leadership.

The Italian has highlighted his relationship with the Chelsea players as his solace when things get tough. “I would be very happy to continue to work with my players,” Conte said when asked about a potential issue with the higher-ups.

“I saw a bit the history of this club in the past and it was the same also for the other coaches, and I don’t see difference between me and other coaches that managed this situation. My task is to continue to work very hard for this club and have great respect first of all for my job and for my players, for our fans.”

Conte, who sees Chelsea sitting third in the Premier League table with a three-point gap in either direction, has seen its prospects for a trophy this season diminish after a loss to Arsenal in the Carabao Cup semifinals. Conte is aware that owner Roman Abramovich can have an itchy trigger finger when silverware is not secured.

“My only worry is to work, only to work very hard,” Conte said. “For sure if you look at the stats you can see that in 14 years 10 managers were sacked in this club. The stats are this, but at the same time when you are sure about your work and that you are doing everything to improve this club and to work with the players, I am very relaxed, calm and I don’t have this type of worry.”

The Premier League title seems to be all wrapped up with Manchester City well on top, while the Blues remain in the Champions League and FA Cup. They have a knockout round matchup with Barcelona with the two legs scheduled for late February and early March. The Blues are also drawn against fellow Premier League side Newcastle in the 4th Round of the FA Cup on Sunday.

“I’m repeating always the same thing – I’m the coach,” Conte said ahead of the Newcastle match. “My task is to try to do the best for this club, to try to improve my players for this club.”

The Italian said that he hopes new players are brought in, but he has no control over that matter. “I’m happy to try every day to put all myself for this job. I would be very happy if there are some new players.”