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Conte questions Stamford Bridge hierarchy

By Matt McGeehan

Antonio Conte has suggested history is being repeated at Chelsea.

There have been regular reports of friction between head coach Conte and the Chelsea hierarchy, mostly over transfers.

And the Italian, speaking ahead of tomorrow's FA Cup fourth round tie with one-time Chelsea interim boss Rafael Benitez's Newcastle, did little to diffuse the situation when given the opportunity to subdue the speculation.

"I continue to work very hard for this club, for the players, for our fans," said Conte, who led to Chelsea to the 2016-17 Premier League title after the prior season's implosion under Jose Mourinho.

"But I saw a bit the history of this club in the past and it was the same also for the other coaches.

"I don't see difference between them and me and other coaches that managed this situation."

Conte says he predicted a difficult campaign last summer, when he said Chelsea must avoid a "Mourinho season".

"If you remember I said maybe this will be the most difficult season for me," the Italian said.

"We have to know that we have to face great difficulties. But if you know this you are more ready to face this type of situation."

Conte, who earlier this month insisted he would not walk away from Chelsea, was asked if he was discovering the challenges faced by previous Chelsea bosses.

He responded by referencing the number of managers in the 14 years of Roman Abramovich's ownership, insisting he was "very relaxed" about the prospect of being fired.

"If you look at the stats you can see that in 14 years 10 managers were sacked in this club," added Conte, who was able to muster a laugh.

Belfast Telegraph

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