Antonio Conte believes the rumours that he will leave Chelsea in the near future have come as a result of the club’s reputation for sacking managers.
The London club has seen 14 coaches come and go in the 14 and a half years since Roman Abramovich’s takeover, but have won every major title in the same timeframe.
Conte has already passed the average life expectancy of a Chelsea manager of less than a year and a half, but reports of an imminent departure continue to circulate.
With Chelsea sitting 19 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City, many have predicted Conte’s Chelsea days will come to a similar end to that of Jose Mourinho, who was sacked less than a year after guiding the Blues to the league title in his second stint at Stamford Bridge.
“The players are used to this speculation,” Conte said in a press conference. “The speculation has been going on this season and many players answered this question, that we don’t want to repeat what happened in the past. But it’s normal.
“The history is this. We can’t change the history of the club. But don’t forget the history of this club. It’s always the same. Not only with me. Also with other coaches. I understand this, it’s normal. I don’t understand why other coaches are not under pressure after a defeat in the way that you [the media] are doing with me.
“But, I repeat, this is not a problem because I don’t read it or go online. My ambition is to have another season in England and to respect my contract, to complete this path. This is my desire. This is my ambition.
“Then we will see what happens. Anything can happen. But, when my contract with Chelsea has finished.”
The club brought in Olivier Giroud from the Gunners, Ross Barkley from Everton and Emerson Palmieri from Roma during the transfer window, and Conte feels they have gone for quantity over qualtiy as they prepare a long-term battle to close the gap on a richer and better Manchester City side.
“But I think now we must be realistic and understand what our level is,” Conte added. “Now we have to struggle to fight for a Champions League place. That is top. We must be realistic. We must be strong to accept this type of situation.
“Then, in the future, if there is the possibility, you have to try to buy only two or three players – not eight players. Don’t forget, this summer we brought in eight players and spent a lot less than other teams who bought only two or three.
Chelsea are looking to recover from a poor January, in which they drew four times and lost twice to see themselves dragged into a battle for the top four, while they also dropped out of the Carabao Cup at the semi-final stage at the hands of Arsenal.