Antonio Conte is currently going through a bad season at Chelsea, after he set the standards very high for himself last season with a dominating Premier League triumph.
The Italian just witnessed his side shockingly going down 3-0 at home to Bournemouth this Wednesday, which means Chelsea are now fourth on the table with just two points above fifth place Tottenham Hotspur.
Chelsea were also eliminated from the Carabao Cup in the semi finals by the bitter city rivals Arsenal, and are set for a showdown with Barcelona in the Champions League Round of 16.
The club completed two last minute deals for Olivier Giroud and Emerson Palmieri on the January transfer deadline day, although reports claim Conte wanted Alexis Sanchez instead.
He reportedly also wanted deals for Virgil van Dijk and Alex Sandro, and is upset with the board for failing to land all three targets.
Both Sanchez and van Dijk joined fellow Premier League rivals Manchester United and Liverpool, while Sandro remains at Juventus.
It has been speculated that both Giroud and Emerson were the board’s choice and not Conte’s, and the manger complained about both players’ fitness during yesterday’s press conference.
“We have to wait,” he said. “Especially for Palmieri, we are talking about a player who is coming back from a bad injury. He has played only one game, in the Italian Cup against Torino.
“Olivier is coming back from a muscular injury and was out for 50 days before playing 15 minutes against Swansea.
We are starting to work with him and we have to check his physical condition. For sure, it won’t be easy to see him in the starting 11 on Monday.”
Ross Barkley was also signed during the winter transfer window, while the likes of Alvaro Morata, Davide Zappacosta, Antonio Rudiger, Tiemoue Bakayoko, and Danny Drinkwater joined in the summer.
However, all the signings have either struggled for playing time or for form at Stamford Bridge, which is concerning for Conte.
Morata, who is Chelsea’s most expensive signing of all time, is also suffering from dip in form, and hasn;t score in all competitions since the Boxing Day.
Apart from his struggles on the pitch, the striker is also dealing with a back problem, and Conte admitted that it is causing the club a number of problems.
“Alvaro is still out and I hope to be able to solve this situation,” he said when asked whether Morata can feature for Monday’s game against Watford.
“For a problem in his back, he’s missing a lot of games which is not a good situation. I hope in the future that the medical department can solve this situation.”
Conte Wants Chelsea Exit
According to new Italian Football Federation commissioner Roberto Fabbricini, Conte is keen to quit Chelsea and return to Italy as the manager of the national team.
Conte coached the Azzurri from 2014 to 2016, and successfully led them to quarter finals of the Euro 2016, knocking out the defending champions Spain at the Round of 16.
He left the job after the tournament for a new adventure in England, but Fabbricini claims Conte is desperate to return.
“The names are the ones you know,” he said when asked about the new candidates to lead Italy.
“Mancini was in Rome but we didn’t contact him, Conte seems eager to wear blue again.
“Ancelotti opens and closes the door and Ranieri isn’t out either.”
Conte is currently under a massive pressure at Chelsea after a recent home loss to Bournemouth, which dropped the club down to fourth and only two points away from missing out on a Champions League spot.
The manager admitted that it is now a possibly that the club could end up finishing out of the top four at the end of the season, and voiced his concern during the post game press conference.
We must be worried [about finishing in the top four],” Conte said. “It will not be easy. I am repeating what I have said since the start of the season.
“We have to fight. We must be prepared to fight and we must be ready. I think the players are starting to understand that this season we are going to struggle for a position in the Champions League.
“If we want only to dream and not see the reality, in this case I could tell you we can fight to win the title this season. But it is important to look at the reality and to know that it will be a great success to reach a place in the Champions League.”
He also talked about the pressure at the club, as well as the recent speculations about possibly getting the sack.
“We are doing everything and giving 120 per cent, and I am approaching this squad at their maximum level,” Conte said.
“But if someone does not agree that I am here then you have to accept every situation. I am relaxed about this because I know I am doing a great job.”
The coaching position at the Italian national team has been vacant since the sacking of Giampiero Ventura back in November for failing to qualify for the World Cup.
Fabbricini was appointed as an emergency leader on Thursday following the election for new president, which didn’t result in a winner.
Damiano Tommasi, Cosimo Sibilia and Gabriele Gravina all stood to replace Carlo Tavecchio, but the delegates failed to elect anyone in four rounds of voting.