Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Antonio Conte ‘will be just fine’ at Chelsea – Michael Emenalo

Antonio Conte “will be just fine” at Chelsea despite persistent speculation suggesting that he could leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season, says the club’s former technical director Michael Emenalo.

Emenalo took up a new role as Monaco’s sporting director last month, just three weeks after announcing his surprise decision to leave Chelsea after 10 years across the coaching and scouting departments at Stamford Bridge.

His departure, coming amid a backdrop of ongoing tension between Conte and the Chelsea hierarchy over transfer strategy, intensified talk that the Italian’s days in charge of the Premier League champions could be numbered — but in an interview with talkSPORT, Emenalo dismissed the suggestion.

“Chelsea are very lucky,” he said. “Every year we seemed to find some very good people to manage or coach that club and I think in Antonio Conte they have one of the best three coaches in the world.

“I think that he enjoys a lot of respect at the senior level, the board level and the ownership level of the club, so there should be no worries at all.

“It is true that I have a very good personal relationship with him, I love his work, I love his passion, I love his ideas. I think he’ll be just fine.

“He is surrounded by a lot of competent assistants, those he brought with him and those who were already at the club, and their recent results just show they will keep going on stronger and stronger.”

Much of the tension between Conte and the Chelsea board can be traced back to last summer’s troubled transfer window, when high-profile pursuits of priority targets Romelu Lukaku and Alex Sandro failed and potential squad signings Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ross Barkley turned down moves to Stamford Bridge.

Emenalo admitted that Conte was frustrated to miss out on Lukaku, but insisted that the episode has had no lasting impact on Chelsea.

“As everybody knows in every walk of life, you develop an idea and you have a policy in mind and you have an intent, and if it doesn’t go the way you want, there is some level of disappointment,” he added.

“But I can tell you today Conte is extremely happy with Alvaro Morata, and I think that is down to Morata and is also down to the fantastic work they do at Cobham.

“There are no ill feelings now, I think he’s moved on from that and he’s just focused on trying to get through what is a tough schedule and to try and find some rhythm with the team again.”

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