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  • By Paul Lagan

Chelsea’s Conte: I deserve respect for what I have done

Antonio Conte may have conceded the title before Christmas to Manchester City, but he is still determined to state how successful he has been this season to get the Blues into Champions League contention and a desire for more respect for his achievements at Stamford Bridge. One of those factors is instilling confidence into the side – winning helps of course. “Yeah, I think we must have the right confidence,” he said. “I think after a difficult start to the season, now to win these recent games apart from draw at Liverpool and defeat at West Ham, it’s a good one for a team that last season who won the title.” Conte thinks his achievement in winning last season’s title was great, despite a bad transfer window. “I think last season we did a fantastic job – this is the truth,” he said. “Because don’t forget, two years ago, the team finished 10th and then, if you remember, our transfer market wasn’t so impressive, you understand? “Generally, we didn’t do anything. I think it was a fantastic season. But this job is continuing this season, because we are trying to change the average age of the side. We are trying to do our thing. Now, I think our thing is a younger average age than last season. I think for a club like Chelsea, it is very important to start to do this if you want to create a new base and to face the future with confidence.” So did he expect to be out of title contention? “I must be honest, I think we are doing a fantastic job, I think this because, I repeat, after a good season like last season, and then to change many players, for many reasons, and to start to work with young players and to create this base, we are doing a fantastic job.” So while not actually answering the question, it did allow him to comment on why Manchester City are running away with the title this season. “I think when you have this opportunity to go on the market and to spend a lot of money, I think it is right to do this,” he said of City’s transfer activity. “But also you must be very good to spend the money that way. Sometimes you can spend a lot of money in a bad way, you need to be clever to understand what is the positions which are the roles where you have to improve. In this case they are very good.” With the club attempting to lower the average age, Conte feel that more time must be given to the players to perform. “There is a moment when you must have great patience,” he said. “If you understand a bit of football, there is a moment that you must have great patience. If someone is working very well, doing a great job, and then you have to continue this way. “I repeat, everyone wants to win, but to win, you have to build the win, and it can happen like last season that you can win for a fantastic job, for many circumstances, that we created a fantastic group of players, great motivation, great desire and to reach a result. Because, I repeat, for me, last season Man City was superior to us, Man United, Tottenham and Arsenal and Liverpool, the same. But despite this we won the league. Now we are trying to work very hard, we are working very hard, it’s important to understand this.” Speculation continues about his future at SW6 and while not addressing the realities, he is quick to take exception at the comments, and he commits to his position as it stands right now. “I must be honest, it’s not simple for me to see that everyday the speculation about my future. “And it’s not right. I deserve a bit of respect for what I did last season, for what I am doing this season. “To read every week that the club is linked with this coach, another coach. To me this is not a problem.” “I have another year of my contract, and in this moment for sure, my focus is total for Chelsea, for my players, to improve my players, to try to improve the team but also to improve the club, if I can do this.”

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