Belfast Telegraph

Hard work awaits for Conte and Chelsea after improved deal

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte challenged everyone at Stamford Bridge to "work even harder" as the Italian plots more success next season having signed a new two-year contract on improved terms.

Conte guided the Blues to the Premier League title in his first season at Stamford Bridge, having taken over from his role in charge of Italy after the European Championships.

Press Association Sport understands the new contract represents improved terms for the Italian, but is not an extension to the three-year agreement penned on his appointment last summer.

Under the guidance of Conte, 47, Chelsea recovered from a 3-0 defeat at Arsenal on September 24 to mount an impressive run of form which saw them produce 30 wins - including a club-record 13 consecutive league victories. However, the Blues missed out on the double when losing to the Gunners in the FA Cup final at Wembley in May.

Conte will now turn his attentions to another sustained assault on the Premier League, as well as progress in Europe on the west London club's return to the Champions League.

"I am very happy to have signed a new contract with Chelsea. We worked extremely hard in our first year to achieve something amazing, which I am very proud of. Now we must work even harder to stay at the top," Conte said on the club's official website.

"The Chelsea fans have given me so much support since I arrived here one year ago and it is important we continue to succeed together."

Chelsea also confirmed additions to Conte's backroom staff for the upcoming campaign, with compatriots Paolo Vanoli joining as assistant to the first team head coach and Davide Mazzotta working as assistant/player analysis.

Last week, Chelsea announced the signing of midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko from Monaco in a deal reported to have cost around £40million.

Chelsea made the announcement on Conte's new deal on Tuesday night as his squad headed out for a pre-season tour to Asia, which will feature matches against FA Cup winners Arsenal, Bayern Munich and Inter Milan.

The future of Nemanja Matic, who has been linked with a move to Manchester United or Juventus, remains in doubt as does that of striker Diego Costa, with both players expected to miss the trip.

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