Honesty over diplomacy for Chelsea boss Antonio Conte
The Blues boss’ position has been the subject of speculation all season.
Antonio Conte has downplayed his powers of diplomacy, insisting he will remain honest even if that could cost him his job as Chelsea head coach.
The Blues boss’ position has been the subject of speculation all season, amid rumours of friction with the Chelsea hierarchy over transfers.
Conte won the Premier League title in his first season as head coach and signed an improved contract, but not an extension to the deal which runs until June 2019, and his future is rumoured to be in doubt.
“I’m not a diplomatic man,” said Conte, who was speaking ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup fourth-round tie with Newcastle.
“At the same time, I think I’m very honest. The honest person speaks very clearly in every moment. If you are fake, you try always to not tell the truth.
“I prefer to be honest, to tell the truth in every moment. I hate the fake person.”
It was put to Conte he could lose his job for being outspoken, after reports his public comments on transfers had upset owner Roman Abramovich and director Marina Granovskaia.
“This is a good question, but I answered you before,” said Conte, referencing his intention to continue to speak the truth.
Conte was adamant he felt no need to regret any of his words or actions since joining the Blues.
Conte added: “No regrets, no. I think when I take a decision, I don’t want to look behind.
“I want always to look at the present, to look in front of me.”
The Blues boss has repeatedly deferred matters on transfers and contracts to the club hierarchy, although he has done little to hide his frustration at times.
Rafael Benitez, Sunday’s opposing boss, knows what it is like to lead Chelsea, having had a six-month interim spell until May 2013, when the Blues won the Europa League.
Conte repeated his priority is to coach the players at his disposal, whether his squad is added to or not.
And he insisted he knew the task at Chelsea would be a challenging one after making the decision to swap international management with Italy for the Premier League.
Conte: 'We have a fantastic motivation, which is to finish the league in the top four. It won't be easy, I must be clear. It will be a big fight with five other teams for only four places.'— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 19, 2018
“My life is on the pitch, to try to improve my players, to try to put my idea of football on the pitch,” Conte added.
“I’m enjoying a lot this situation, but, as you know very well, if you want an easy life, you make easy decisions.
“To come and to be a coach in England, now, in this league, is not… you don’t have an easy life, because in every game you have to fight a lot.”
Ross Barkley, Chelsea’s only signing so far in this winter’s transfer window, is poised to make his full debut against Newcastle.
Barkley has made one substitute appearance since his move from Everton on January 5, having last played in May following a hamstring injury.
But injuries to striker Alvaro Morata (back) and playmaker Willian (hamstring) necessitate the England midfielder’s inclusion.
Back with the boys 🙏🏻😃 pic.twitter.com/OYxGizzXo5— Cesc Fàbregas Soler (@cesc4official) January 26, 2018
Cesc Fabregas (hamstring) could return, but Thibaut Courtois (ankle) is still out so Willy Caballero is expected to continue in goal.