Conte: Past pressures and present priorities

Antonio Conte has compared managing at the top in England with working elsewhere and spoken about his decision to return to club football management, which he took in 2016 when swapping the Italy national team reins for his present job at Chelsea.

Both jobs come with their pressures, as did Conte’s previous club role at Juventus. He explained on Friday that his desire is to continue at Chelsea, regardless of speculation over a return to the Italy job, but he has recalled what it was like when in that role previously, when the spotlight was not on week in week out.

‘The pressure during a World Cup or a European championships is incredible,’ he pointed out, ‘especially if you are the coach of a country like Italy. You feel the whole country behind you, not during the qualification, but during the competitions like the World Cup or the Euros. The pressure is massive, but at the same time you have great satisfaction with your team. You have a lot of responsibility but the pressure is enormous and much more than when you stay in a club.

‘For me, I took the decision to come back to a club before the start of the European Championships with Italy because I felt the necessity to work every day with players.

‘Now I am not looking so far forward. Now I am very focused on the present and the present for me is Chelsea and I am very happy for this, because I took this choice and I want to respect this choice and also because I am sure we are doing incredible work here.

‘I repeat, now my ambition is to have another season in England and to respect my contract, to complete this path. This my desire and my ambition, then we will see what happens. Anything can happen but only when my contract with Chelsea finishes.’

Conte gave some of the reasons why he enjoys being a Premier League manager.

‘The atmosphere we breathe around football, before the game, during the game, it is great. It is impossible to find the same atmosphere in another country. Here the fans live football, the fans enjoy football, they stay together to live the experience and to enjoy, and this is great. England did a great job on this aspect.’