Antonio Conte has refused to be intimidated by other managers being linked with Chelsea’s top job after admitting he has become used to it this season, following a turbulent campaign.
The Italian has come under increasing scrutiny this season, which was further compounded after Blues’ hopes of securing a position in the top four received a heavy blow after playing out a 1-1 draw with Huddersfield on Wednesday, with their hopes of ending the season on a positive note seemingly resting solely on their ability to lift the FA Cup.
After Conte criticised Chelsea’s transfer policy in the wake of his Premier League title last season, widespread reports have suggested the 48-year-old will be cut loose in the summer despite having one-year remaining in his deal at Stamford Bridge.
Maurizio Sarri, Massimiliano Allegri and Leonardo Jardim have all been linked with taking over the helm should the former Juventus boss be sent his marching orders, but Conte concedes he is used to dealing with such speculation over his future in the top job.
“I think this is normal. This is our job, our lives,” he told reporters prior to Chelsea’s clash with Newcastle, via Goal.
“As you know very well, our job is very difficult because [your job] is in the balance every day. It’s normal to have a lot of speculation around you.
“We have to live with this pressure and this type of situation. I have great respect for everyone. It’s right to have this type of situation. I do my job. I trust a lot in my work, I trust a lot in my capacity and the capacity of my staff. This is the only important thing for me.
“It’s not easy to win trophies. For a second season in a row, we’re fighting to win something. Last season we won the league. This season we have the possibility to win another important trophy, and then we’ll see.”
With the season winding down in the next two weeks, Conte revealed his future at Chelsea will become clearer following a post-season trip to Italy for a former player’s tribute match.
He added: “I probably will go to Milan for the game for Pirlo. Then we don’t know, at the end of the season, if we have friendly games. I don’t know anything about the end of our season. For sure, in the next week, the situation will be clearer.”