Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has confessed that he has been lonely at times over the course of his stay at Stamford Bridge – but he has pledged to stay in charge of the Premier League champions.
The Italian arrived in England last summer, and though he has enjoyed great success on the field, he had been linked with a move back to his homeland with Inter. However, he will take steps over the summer to cure any homesickness that he may well.
“My objective is to lay the foundations so Chelsea can continue to win,” he told La Repubblica.
“This is already a big club, but it’s inconsistent. They won the Champions League, then went out in the first round. They won the Premier League and then finished 10th. Chelsea need to find stability at the top.
“It’s not all happiness and light. The arrival was, but the journey wasn’t. With my wife Elisabetta in January we decided that Vittoria would finish school in Turin, even if she was already registered to start in London.
“However, if I am to stay, then they will come and stay with me. It will be a great opportunity for my daughter to live in a foreign country. I’ll tell you one thing for sure, I won’t have another year on my own.”
The 47-year-old is pleased with how his professional life has gone over the course of the last year, although he admits that the adaption was a two-way process.
“The guys accepted new methods: very intense training sessions, the diet, the video analysis and importance of details. I feel fortified. I remain narrow-minded in my work, but I am more flexible. I learned to turn a blind eye to certain things, like players eating scrambled eggs before a game… You have to accept the traditions of a country,” he said.
“You also need to speak the language, out of respect. I had studied it at school, but had a two-week intensive course. Learning English felt like climbing a mountain: with strong motivation, nothing is insurmountable.”
Initially, the Blues seemed to have some trouble adapting to their new manager, and he admits that he was trouble by losses against Liverpool and Arsenal, which prompted a change of his thinking as he thereafter adopted his favoured 3-4-3 system.
“The team would go out on to the park and I didn’t know what was going to happen - that’s the worst sensation for a Coach. Defeat for me lasts two days, while victory is only an hour,” he explained.
“I thought: ‘If I have to die, let me die by my own ideas. My own conviction, my own meticulous work.’
“I am not someone who compromises. I was giving my all and didn’t feel under pressure, but I couldn’t change my nature. The squad respected me and my past spoke for me, including as a player.”