Antonio Conte fiercely denied comments by former team-mate Gianluca Vialli that he is desperate to leave Chelsea, and that despite being sad and angry with his season he wants to remain in west London.
Vialli – who lined-up alongside Conte during their careers at Juventus – represented the Blues both as a player and manager, and revealed after Chelsea’s defeat to Tottenham that his close friend was looking to leave Stamford Bridge .
Conte has repeatedly took the stance that he will see out his contract at Chelsea, which expires in 2019, and spoke of his disappointment of the latest rumours regarding his future.
“I can be disappointed on one side, but I respect him because he is a journalist, and he is doing his job,” Conte told reporters when asked about Vialli’s comments.
“He is trying to give his opinion. This is his opinion. It is not my opinion. The people who stay very close to me they know very well my intentions – to stay, to stay here, to continue my job here. This is the truth. You will see.
“With Gianluca, we played together for many years at Juventus, he was my captain, we won the Champions League together and I consider him a friend. All of my former team-mates, I consider them friends. With Gianluca we went once to dinner last season and then I stopped (speaking to him). But sometimes it’s very difficult to understand why.
“It’s very difficult. I understand because he is now a journalist and he has to give news to Sky and to try to speak about my situation. Those who know me very well know that in this moment I am very angry. I am very sad for this situation.
“They know I am trying to put all of myself to change this situation because I have great responsibility. I feel great responsibility for my work, for my family, for everything. I repeat, when I go to my house, it is not that I am relaxed but I know that I gave everything and I am giving everything for this club. Every day – 120 per cent.
“Sometimes it is very difficult to sleep with these types of problems. In every season for the final result you have to share the responsibility. With the club, with the coach, with the players.
“Whether you win or whether you lose, in every moment, you have to share the responsibility. It is impossible to find a fault in only one of these three parts.
“You have to share, you have to understand which are the reasons about this result. To understand which is the responsibility, the percentage of the responsibility between these three parts – club, coach and players. This is very easy.”
Chelsea face West Ham on Sunday and, as they sit eight points behind Spurs in fourth, Champions League football next season is looking increasingly unlikely.