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Antonio Conte has challenged the Chelsea hierarchy to back him publicly and demonstrate they retain faith in his stewardship in an attempt to quash suggestions his job is under threat.
The Italian will go into Monday’s game at Watford with his side 19 points behind the leaders, Manchester City, and in a battle to finish in the top four, as a testing second campaign in charge reaches its final months. There have been tensions behind the scenes over recruitment, concerns Brett Anderson Jersey over the intensity of his training and calls of late from the head coach for the board to show “realism” and “patience”.
Neither have been traits particularly associated with Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea and, although there is a growing acceptance Conte will depart Stamford Bridge in the summer, the head coach has called for a public show of support to demonstrate he retains the board’s backing even in the short term.
“I must be honest, there were these type of rumours and speculation [that he might be sacked] even after the first game of the season when we lost against Burnley,” Conte said. “Maybe I’d like the club to prepare a statement for me, no? To say they trust me in my work and my job.
“But, at the same time, I know this never happened in the past, so why should I hope for something different? But, for sure, I’d like to have a statement of support against this speculation. The challenge is that, in the past, this never happened. So it’s a big challenge [for the board] to change the approach now. But, for sure, I’d be glad.”
Although Abramovich has always remained reluctant to speak in public, Chelsea did issue a 57-word statement offering José Mourinho their “full support” in October 2015 after a fourth defeat of his team’s fledgling title defence. That was an Carl Banks Youth jersey unprecedented move under the oligarch’s ownership but did not instigate an upturn and patience snapped in mid-December.
Conte’s side have competed far more impressively and, had City not sprinted clear at the top, their run of two defeats in 17 Premier League matches might have kept them in contention. They have also reached the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup and remained in the FA Cup and Champions League, all with a squad the head coach had warned was not deep enough to challenge on four fronts.
Yet the campaign has been played out to a backdrop of discord and the depth of the champions’ options has been exposed by injuries, with Ross Barkley, who is understood to have pulled up in training at the end of last week, the eighth player to suffer a hamstring complaint. The England midfielder is being assessed, with the latest problem apparently not associated with the serious injury that left him in rehabilitation at Everton http://www.authenticsabresstore.com/-7-rick-martin-jersey_c-470.html until his move to London.
Chelsea have played 40 games this season – that tally was 28 at this stage last year – and there http://www.officialfootballcardinalsstore.com/Nike-Josh-Bynes-Jersey.html had been concerns Conte has not eased the intensity of training. He has dismissed that notion. “If you compare to the other clubs, we have fewer injuries,” he said. “The only problem is that, this season, we are playing a lot more and our squad wasn’t big enough to give them the right rest. We are working less [in training] than last season. A lot less.
“For sure, you have to change your plan, your work. When you play every three days, it’s impossible to give intensity in these two days between one game and another. Sometimes, when I have had the possibility, I have tried to do a little window of work for the players I had decided to rest [after a game]. But in this country, with four competitions and with the intensity of every game, you have to face a season with a big squad. This is very, very important. It’s very important to try to understand and find the best solution.”