West London Sport

Conte on his future, Barkley, Mourinho, talking to Alexis Sanchez and why it’s a bad time to play Leicester

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Chelsea boss Antonio Conte spoke about a number of issues at a media conference ahead of the game against Leicester. Here’s some of what the Italian had to say.

Conte on Leicester

“I must be honest, we have to face the worst team for us in this moment. Leicester is a really good team, a strong team in great form and tomorrow it will be very difficult for us to win the game. We have to pay great attention.

“Maybe Leicester are the worst team to face in this moment for us.”

On reports he could be replaced at the end of the season

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“Everything is possible. I have another year’s contract with this club but as you know very well in football everything is possible – one moment you stay here and another moment another person replaces you in your job.

“For this club it is normal for the manager to have this type of situation. This is the history of the club.

“Something is strange if after the first game we lost against Burnley the press pressed quickly for me to be sacked for another coach. I think in other clubs this doesn’t happen.

“You must trust in your work. I trust in my work and what we are doing, but in football anything can happen. We must be ready.

“I’m happy and am enjoying my period here. It wasn’t easy – it’s not simple for me, my first experience in another country. But I am enjoying my experience.

“I have another year on my contract and I think the club has to decide (if it wants) to send me away.

“We have started big work here together with the players and when you start work you need time to improve your work and to create a solid basis.

“But in football now it is very difficult to predict you can stay for many years with one club, especially now in England.

“Before, a manager was in charge for many years. Now in England you have this habit to sack a manager early.”

On Ross Barkley

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“I must be satisfied for his physical condition. For sure he is working very hard and I think maybe in the next game against Norwich he could be available. I hope so.

“He is not ready 100% but I think he can start to help us for the rest of the season.”

On Baba Rahman possibly returning to Schalke

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“Baba is recovering from a bad injury and I hadn’t the possibility to see him in training with us – only once or twice – because he wasn’t ready to have full training sessions.

“Now he’s recovering and I think it could be an interesting option for the player to try to recover with them.

“For sure Baba is recovering. He is not ready in this moment, otherwise Baba Rahman would stay with us and be in my squad.”

On whether signings are likely

“I don’t know. As I said before, the club knows very well which is my opinion and this is the best way to speak with the club – to give my opinion, if we need the players to improve the numbers of the squad.

“Then the club has to decide and the final decision is with the club, not me.”

On being seen in the tunnel speaking to Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez

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“I said hello. He is a great player. He knows very well that at Juventus we tried to sign him from Udinese but he decided to go Barcelona. He knows very well my admiration for him. It was a good chance to say hello to him.

“There was no other situation or other conversation. I repeat, for sure I have great admiration for top players and he is one of them.”

On where Sanchez might end up

“I don’t know. You will have to ask him which is his choice, or maybe ask Arsenal. They have to decide his future. For sure his future will be in a great club.”

On whether other clubs should try to rival Manchester City to sign Sanchez

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“No. If Manchester City wants him, then they buy him. They don’t have concerns about money and this investment – and it is a good investment.

“He is a top player and in a moment you don’t have to buy him for a money that is high. It is a great chance for a club to invest in him.”

On whether Chelsea should try to buy Sanchez

“This is only my opinion. You ask if there are other clubs to stop this transfer and I think no. In the past Manchester City showed that, if they want to take a player, they buy this player.”

On whether Hazard and Courtois are close to signing contracts

“This is not my business. This is a club business.”

On whether he would watch Jose Mourinho’s press conference

“No. I am not interested in this.”