LONDON – Antonio Conte described reports of unrest at Chelsea that cast doubt over his future at the reigning Premier League champions as “bullsh*t” on Friday.
The furious Italian denies his reign has been undermined by players texting his former assistant Steve Holland to complain of his training methods, and rejected a story that he will not see out the remaining 20 months of his contract.
Speculation has linked the board with a move for Carlo Ancelotti to replace Conte, but Chelsea’s indignant boss has accused his critics of showing a “lack of respect”.
“Around us, there (is) a lot of bullsh*t. This is true. If I look at the past, I see it happened the same with the other managers. A lot of bullsh*t,” Conte said.
“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.
“This is a lack of respect. I can accept it being written that the club is ready to sack me, and can accept the story with the players.
“I can accept this, but to put another person in this way, I think this is incorrect and it is not good that this person has to send me a message to tell me ‘I’m sorry, but this is not true. If you want me to do an interview, I am ready’.”
Chelsea ended a run of three games without a win with a 4-2 Premier League victory over Watford on Saturday.
Conte’s side then defeated beleaguered Everton 2-1 in the League Cup at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday,
The Italian continued: “You don’t know me. This is work for me. From my experience, for me as a player in great teams and coach in great teams, this is work for me.
“You don’t know the pressure you can have when you are manager of your country during the World Cup or Euros. Not one person can know this situation.
“This is work for me, but if someone is happy to write this and this makes the newspaper more interesting (to) continue to do this, but don’t put another person in because this is incorrect.”
Chelsea’s Premier League title defence has stalled, and they trail leaders Manchester City by nine points ahead of Saturday’s visit to Bournemouth.
Conte admitted the champions, in fourth place with 16 points from nine matches, were negotiating a difficult start to the campaign following a succession of injuries to key players such as Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante.
“Our start in this season wasn’t lucky for many reasons, but we are doing well and we have the points we deserve in the league, and are doing well in the Champions League,” said Conte. “We are doing a big work.”