Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Conte to stay true Blue despite Italy interest



Conte to stay true Blue despite Italy interest

Chelsea coach Antonio Conte gestures during their Premier League match against Bournemouth on January 31.
Chelsea coach Antonio Conte gestures during their Premier League match against Bournemouth on January 31.

Conte to stay true Blue despite Italy interest

Antonio Conte insists speculation over his job will not derail his attempt to get his struggling Chelsea side back on track tonight against Watford (at 3am Cambodian time) in the fight for a top-four finish in the Premier League.

The English champions need to bounce back from a humiliating 3-0 home thrashing by Bournemouth on Wednesday, which put further strain on Conte’s relationship with the Chelsea hierarchy, after the Italian described his preparations for the match a “disaster” due to a busy few days of transfer business before the January window closed.

However, Conte, who led Chelsea to the title in a spectacular opening campaign in England last season, reiterated his intention to at least see out his contract until 2019 despite speculation he could return to fill the vacant position as coach of the Italian national team.

“I still have 18 months on my contract with Chelsea,” said the Italian. “My intention, my will, my desire is to respect this contract.”

Bournemouth’s victory at Stamford Bridge in midweek brought back memories of Chelsea’s opening day collapse at home to Burnley in an early sign that a bigger challenge awaited Conte in his second season.

“From the start of the season after our defeat against Burnley [there has been] a lot of speculation about my sacking,” added Conte. “But I’m not interested in this and my only desire is to continue to work, to be focused on my team to try to do the best with this team.

“I trust in my work and this is the only way that brought me to be one of the best managers. I don’t trust in anything else, only in my work and my job.”
Chelsea’s squad was bolstered by the arrival of Olivier Giroud and Emerson Palmieri on the final day of the transfer window, but Conte doesn’t expect either player to be fit enough to make an immediate impact.

Few options up front

Palmieri has only recently returned from a long layoff due to a cruciate ligament injury, while Giroud suffered from a hamstring problem in his final weeks at Arsenal.

“We have to wait because don’t forget that especially for Palmieri we are talking about a player he’s coming from a bad injury,” Conte added.

“Olivier is coming [back] from a muscular injury. He was out for 50 days before he played 15 minutes in the game against Swansea [for Arsenal on Tuesday]. We are working with him and we have to check his physical condition. It won’t be easy for him to start.”

Giroud’s lack of match fitness means Conte is once again struggling for options up front with Alvaro Morata still absent due to a back injury and Michy Batshuayi having left to join Borussia Dortmund as part of a three-way deal between Chelsea, Arsenal and the German giants that saw Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang join the Gunners.

Watford are in desperate need of the points themselves as new manager Javi Gracia targets a first win since he replaced the sacked Marco Silva.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Cambodia ready to exit LDC status

    Cambodia is well-prepared to minimise economic risks when it graduates from its Least Developed Countries status, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Commerce on May 7. Four LDCs – Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and Nepal – met at a virtual workshop last week to explore potential

  • Nine US franchises eye Cambodia debut

    Nine famous US franchising companies are looking for business opportunities and expansion into Cambodia to build a footstep for a strong foundation in Southeast Asia. The US embassy in Phnom Penh, in partnership with the US Foreign Commercial Service and with support from the American

  • Nearly 2,000 detained for Phnom Penh curfew breach

    Nearly 2,000 people were detained in the capital for violating the curfew imposed by the government and Phnom Penh Municipal Administration. Municipal police spokesman San Sokseyha told The Post on May 16 that people were detained in two phases. In phase one, the government locked down Phnom

  • Jab drive announced for two more Phnom Penh districts

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration on May 15 announced a first-dose novel-coronavirus vaccination campaign for Boeung Keng Kang and Sen Sok districts from May 18-31, and a follow-up second-shot drive from June 1-15. Twenty vaccination sites have been set up in a combined 13 communes across both