Antonio Conte dodges questions about Chelsea future ahead of FA Cup final


Antonio Conte dodged speculation over his future as Chelsea manager as he looked ahead to Saturday’s FA Cup final against Manchester United.

The Italian has been strongly linked with leaving Stamford Bridge this summer after a dismal Premier League title defence from the Blues.

A fifth-placed finish in the Premier League, missing out on Champions League qualification, came as part of a season of discontent for Conte, who could still finish the campaign with a trophy if the Blues beat Manchester United at Wembley.

MORE: ‘Conte wasn’t the same man we saw last year’ – Chelsea legend Zola on Blues boss’ future

Conte last year won the Premier League title in his first season and signed a new and improved contract, but not an extension to the deal which runs until June 2019.

And speculation has been rife for the entire campaign that owner Roman Abramovich is preparing to make a managerial change this summer. If so, the Wembley date would be Conte’s last as boss.

But Conte sidestepped the matter when quizzed by the press on Friday.

“I can say for sure this will be my last match this season,” Conte said.

“For me and my players it will be the last game for us. Then, as you know very well, I have a contract and I’m committed to the club.”

Asked about the prospect of a summer of change at Stamford Bridge, Conte evaded the question.

“I don’t know,” he said.

“For sure, I think we must be focused on tomorrow’s game. For us this game is very important because we have in a difficult season (the chance) to finish the season with a trophy.

“It’s always important for the players, for the coach, for the manager, for our fans, for the club, to finish the season with a trophy.

“We’re focused on this target. We have to try to do everything to win the game tomorrow.”

Antonio Conte takes on nemesis Jose Mourinho in the FA Cup final on Saturday

Despite the results suggesting otherwise, Conte maintains during this season the Blues were as driven as the year before.

He added: “We worked harder than last season. I’m sure about this. For me it’s enough for myself.”

MORE: Chelsea manager Antonio Conte should beware of the curse of winning the FA Cup

This is the second successive FA Cup final for Chelsea and Conte.

The Blues lost to Arsenal 12 months ago, missing out on the double, and Conte recalls the game well, describing it as “strange”.

Conte has lost two domestic cup finals as a manager – his Juventus side were beaten by Napoli in the 2012 Coppa Italia – and the Italian is hoping it will be third time lucky.

He added: “We deserve to have this chance, to win an important trophy.

“We have to fight against a really good team and we want to fight, want to try to win the game, to lift the trophy.”



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