Monday, 19 March 2018

Antonio Conte: Chelsea future shouldn’t be judged on trophies

Antonio Conte hopes any decision on his Chelsea future will not rest on trophy triumphs, with another route to silverware closed in the Champions League.

The Blues crashed out of European competition at the hands of Barcelona on Wednesday, with a 3-0 reversal at Camp Nou condemning them to a 4-1 aggregate defeat.

The FA Cup now represents Chelsea’s last opportunity to get their hands on a major prize, with the reigning Premier League champions having staged a forgettable defence of their domestic crown.

Those struggles have seen questions asked of Conte’s future past the end of the season, but the Italian believes there are many more factors which need to be taken into account when judging the success of his reign.

He told Mediaset when quizzed on his future following a disappointing defeat to Barca: “It’s not about winning or not.

“I think that a coach’s work should be judged on the development of his players and what you see in terms of the value of the squad, not trophies. Chelsea can do better, but the team is growing.”

Goal revealed earlier on Thursday that Conte’s position has not been threatened by a last-16 exit from continental competition.

He will be given until the end of the season regardless of what happens from this point, with a collective decision on which direction to go then set to be made in the summer.

Conte has previously expressed a desire to honour a contract which is due to run until 2019.

He is, however, of the opinion that fate is conspiring against him and stunting the progress of what he considers to be an exciting squad that boasts plenty of potential.

“Luck appears to have turned its back on us this season, even though I don’t like to pin everything on misfortune,” he added

“But I do think [the Barcelona] result was unfair. They were good and clinical, but Barcelona have players who are used to these games.

“We are still a young team with a long way to go and we need to gain experience to be competitive all the way in the Champions League.”

Whether Conte gets the opportunity to oversee another European campaign remains to be seen, with Chelsea still having work to do in order to retain a place among the Champions League elite after slipping to fifth in the Premier League table.

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