Conte: Respect for decisions being made

Speaking at his pre-match media conference, which today took place before the final training session for the game against Liverpool, Antonio Conte confirmed the squad has no injury problems prior to the training.

The manager had no fresh news on the future of Branislav Ivanovic or Asmir Begovic but he did confirm the defender has spoken to other clubs about a possible transfer.

‘Now they are in the squad and we will have the training session and after, I see about this,’ Conte told reporters about the possible departure of the pair.  

‘I did not speak with Ivanovic about his decision but for sure we know he is talking with other clubs. Now we have to wait.

‘He has played a lot of games for this club and won a lot for this club. He is 32 and he can play for many years, able to continue his career in the right way at the top level, but it is important also to respect the decision, above all for this type of player who is a legend for the club. There arrives a moment If you are not playing when you can make a decision and go to another club, and I have great respect for him.’

Conte confirmed that despite respecting the wishes of the individual, he regrets losing members of his squad in January.  

‘When you start the season working with a group of players, you try to create a link between the players, me and the staff, and for sure we are sorry if someone decides to go away. The same for example with Oscar and Mikel, but we know this is football and we are prepared for every situation.’

Those preparations include making sure the squad strength will not be comprised by any departure, and Conte reiterated a move for Begovic remains dependent on a goalkeeper coming in.

‘I haven’t news about Asmir but I think we have to wait to tomorrow and we will see the situation,’ Conte said.

‘Asmir wants to go to play and he knows also our situation. If we are able to find a good replacement he goes, otherwise he stays with us and helps us to fight for the title.’