Chelsea manager Antonio Conte says he is focused on the long-term project at Stamford Bridge, regardless of the persistent speculation that he could leave toward the finish of the season.
The Italian boss penned a new contract with the Blues subsequent to lead them to the Premier League title last season, but it didn’t extend the expiry date beyond 2019.
Reports of achiness to go home have raised questions over the former Juventus and Italy coach’s potential longevity at Chelsea, with club’s chain of command this week linked with a move for ousted Bayern Munich manager Carlo Ancelotti if Conte opts to leave.
Conte has dismissed Chelsea’s expectations of catching runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City, amidst a 16-game winning run that has put them 11 points adrift,.
However, Conte suggested after Saturday’s 1-0 win over Southampton that bringing the battle to Pep Guardiola next term has become one of his top agenda.
“Every day there is speculation about my future,” Conte told reporters.
“It’s not right because I think I deserve a bit of respect for what I did last season, for what I am doing this season.
“I have another year on my contract, so in this moment my focus is total, to improve my players, to try to improve the team, to try to improve the club.
“If you understand football, there is a moment you must have great patience, to know that someone is working very well.
“I think last season we did a fantastic job but this job is continuing this season. We are trying to change the average age of our team. 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 face the future with confidence.”