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The Italian has long been expected to leave the Blues in the summer, and he did not quash the idea ahead of Chelsea’s crucial home clash against Huddersfield Town on Wednesday, per Ian Winrow in the Daily Star:
“I think and I’m sure that I am Chelsea’s coach and my focus is only on this. As I said before it is very difficult to comment on any speculations also because there are speculations around me from the start of the season after the first game against Burnley. And I think you understood that this speculation is not important for me also because my focus is only to work in the best possible way with my players.
“There are only two weeks and this season will finish and you will know if there is a different situation or if you see me again next season and we start again from the first game speculation about my future. But I am very focused on trying to finish the season in the best possible way and I try to transfer my will to my players and also because the fans deserve this.“
Thanks to a recent upturn in form that has seen Chelsea win four Premier League games on the bounce they are still in the running to finish the season in the top four.
But victories in their last two top-flight games of the season against Huddersfield and Newcastle United are a must, while other results must also go their way.
The Blues also have a chance of finishing 2017-18 with some silverware as they face Manchester United in the FA Cup final on May 19.
However, the consistent reports this season around Conte’s imminent departure have rarely, if ever, been to do with performances on the pitch, despite the fact that Chelsea have dropped in quality in 2017-18 after winning the Premier League title last term.
As explained by Matt Hughes in The Times, it is Conte’s broken relationship with the club’s hierarchy that has prompted reports of his departure.
So even if the 48-year-old Italian does manage to guide Chelsea to a top-four finish and FA Cup win in 2017-18 he looks destined for the exit door at Stamford Bridge in the summer.
Per Simon Johnson and Tom Collomosse of the Evening Standard, Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri has been heavily tipped to replace Conte in west London, while Luis Enrique and Massimiliano Allegri are also said to be in the running.