Conte on Swansea, Llorente, playing Man Utd and why he’s happy to risk being sacked

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte was asked about a number of issues at his press conference ahead of Saturday’s home game with Swansea City, which sees ex-Blues coach Paul Clement returning to Stamford Bridge. Here’s some of what Conte had to say.

Team news

“We don’t have any injuries, I have all players available.”

On Claudio Ranieri’s sacking

“I’m disappointed for him because he’s a friend. He’s a really good man and he’s a really good manager. Only one season ago he reached a dream to win the title.

“Will I speak to him? For sure, but now I think it’s better to wait. I understand the situation, I understand his frustration. But for sure I’ll call him, to talk and to show him also my disappointment for this decision.

“I was surprised [by the decision] because after the game in the Champions League, the qualification is open.

“It’s a good result when you finish the first game 2-1 [down]. In the second game you need only to win 1-0 and you go into the quarter-finals.

“For Leicester it’s a great achievement – before last season, no people imagined this situation.”

On rumours of player power at Leicester

“I don’t like to follow this type of story because I think it’s not right, and is a lack of respect for Claudio.

“It’s not right that the players decide if a manager must be sacked or not. If this happens, it means the club is poor, without power.

“I don’t believe in this, I don’t trust in this. I don’t want to listen to this type of story because it is frustrating for a manager to imagine that the players can decide your destiny.”

On Roberto Mancini being linked with Leicester

“I know Roberto. I saw him during the game between West Ham and Manchester City and I spoke with him.

“He’s a really good coach but I think it’s not right to talk about another coach the day after Claudio, my friend, was sacked.”

On the last two title-winning managers losing their jobs within months

“If we are able to reach this dream, I’m ready to face this risk. I’m very happy to, if it means we won the league!

“I’m really focused about this season. There are 13 games to the end of the season, and we want to stay at the top of the table but it won’t be easy.”

On his own experience of being sacked

“In my career it happened only once. To be sacked was traumatic for me, because it was in my first experience as manager, with a team that at that moment was poor, with a penalisation of six points.

“In that period [out of a job], I tried to go to see the work of the other coaches, to study new ideas. Then in the same season, they recalled me [Conte was reappointed less than six months after being sacked] and I was able to put the new ideas in at Arrezo.”

On Paul Clement and Swansea

“He has had a great impact for the team. We must pay great attention because it will be a really tough game.

“If you watched their games against Liverpool and against Manchester City, you understand the difficulty of the game.

“I’m sure my players understand this. We’re working very well to face them in the right way.

“Paul Clement is doing a great job with Swansea. [They are] very compact defensively, very dangerous in offensive situations and in set pieces – we must pay great attention.”

On Swansea’s Fernando Llorente

“I know him very well because Fernando played with me at Juventus and we won together. He’s a really good player, a good footballer, and I have great admiration for the player and also for the man.

“It’s a pleasure for me to see him tomorrow – I wish for him the best but after this game.

“Was I interested in him? This is the past – I think it’s not right to talk about the past and be focused on the present.”

On dealing with Llorente’s aerial ability

“You work to try to limit the characteristics of your opponents. Sometimes we are able to, sometimes the opponents are too good.

“I try to give a lot of information to my players and also ask them the right way to face this type of situation.

“We know the characteristics of Fernando Llorente, [Gylfi] Sigurdsson, [Leroy] Fer and the whole team. For this reason we must pay great attention tomorrow.”

On advantages of not playing in Europe

“When you arrive in a new team, and you have to bring your ideas, your method, your philosophy, you need a lot of time. This is the real advantage.

“But honestly, to watch the Champions League or Europa League on TV is not good for me or the players. We want to play for something important.

“Both competitions are very important – for sure, Champions League is at the top but also Europa League is a good competition and to watch the others playing these competitions is not good.

“But we have this situation because of the bad season, not because someone invented it. Last season was very bad and we must pay for that.”

On Man Utd’s busy schedule around their FA Cup date

“We are talking about situations in 18 days. I think now, for us, it’s very important to be focused on the Swansea game, a really tough game, then to be focused on the next game against West Ham and then we start to think about the FA Cup game.

“The week that we have to play against United in the FA Cup, I am ready to talk about this.”