Conte bristles at mounting rumours

Midfielder Danny Drinkwater may have to make do with a place on the bench, after his Chelsea debut in Wednesday's League Cup win over Everton. Blues anchorman N'Golo Kante remains ruled out.
Midfielder Danny Drinkwater may have to make do with a place on the bench, after his Chelsea debut in Wednesday's League Cup win over Everton. Blues anchorman N'Golo Kante remains ruled out.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Antonio Conte has angrily hit back at reports over his future at Chelsea by describing them as "bull****".

The Chelsea manager reacted furiously when he was asked at his press conference yesterday about stories linking Carlo Ancelotti with a return to Stamford Bridge and suggestions that his players are unhappy with his training methods.

"There is a lot of bull****," he said. "If I see the past, it happened the same with a lot of managers. A lot of bull****.

"They try to create problems between me, the club and the players. If someone is happy to continue to write this, I answer very well in the past. I am answering very well about these different issues."

One report claimed that Chelsea players have contacted Steve Holland, Conte's former No. 2 who is now assistant manager to England boss Gareth Southgate, to express dissatisfaction with the Italian's demands in training.

A Chelsea spokesman interrupted the questioning to dismiss the veracity of that story, but Conte went on a rant.

"This is a lack of respect," he said ahead of his side's Premier League clash at Bournemouth. "I can accept to write the club are ready to sack me and the story with the players. I can accept this.

"It is not good that this person has to send me a message to tell me, 'I am sorry but this is not true, I am sorry, if you want to do an interview, I am ready'.

"Why put another person in this bull****? If you want to hit me, hit me. This is incorrect and I hate this type of situation."

Conte said he often talks to Ancelotti, whom he played for at Juventus, but added that the pair have no need to talk about Chelsea's managerial situation.

"I am in touch," Conte said of Ancelotti, who was sacked as Bayern Munich coach last month.

"He is my friend but he doesn't mean nothing. I don't care what the newspaper writes about my future because this is our job and Carlo is my friend."

Danny Drinkwater is unlikely to feature twice in a week after making his Blues debut against Everton in the League Cup on Wednesday.

He also confirmed that N'Golo Kante and Victor Moses will not be available today. "I hope to have him back for the Roma game (in the Champions League)," Conte said of Kante.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 28, 2017, with the headline 'Conte bristles at mounting rumours'. Print Edition | Subscribe