Antonio Conte has provided the clearest indication yet that he will stay at Chelsea next season, despite persistent talk of a return to Italy.
The Blues manager is close to landing the Premier League title in his first season at the club but rumours of a summer switch to Inter Milan are refusing to go away. Andrea Pastorello, an Italian agent, was quoted in Italy suggesting he might be tempted to leave.
Conte is contracted to Chelsea until 2019 but the club want him to extend his deal this summer.
‘Pastorello is a friend,’ he said. ‘I know him well but I don’t like it when others speak for me.
‘We’re fighting for the title and we want to achieve this goal, then we’ll try to build something important together.’
Asked whether that meant he would stay at Chelsea next season, Conte replied: ‘Yes, for the next season.’
Meanwhile, the FA will not punish Diego Costa for his apparent kick at Vincent Kompany in Chelsea’s win over Manchester City on Wednesday.
Referee Mike Dean saw the incident and dealt with it at the time, so Costa will not be punished retrospectively.
That 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge edged Chelsea closer to the title, but Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen believes the stress of leading may yet take its toll.
Chelsea travel to Bournemouth and Manchester United in their next two games and the Belgian said: ‘We can’t stop pushing and dreaming of that league.
‘Chelsea have a couple of difficult games coming up. We have to keep winning and hopefully they get a bit stressed.’