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Conte willing to risk sack to lead Chelsea to Premier League glory

14:52 GMT 24/02/2017
HD Antonio Conte Chelsea
After his compatriot was sacked nine months after winning the Premier League, the Chelsea boss is not worried about suffering the same fate

Antonio Conte is ready to take the risk of winning the Premier League with Chelsea, despite seeing Claudio Ranieri become the latest manager to lose his job the season after lifting the trophy.

Ranieri was sacked by Leicester City on Thursday with the club only one point above the relegation zone, just nine months after guiding the club to the most improbable title win in the history of the Premier League.

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With Ranieri's departure, none of the last five title winners are in a job with the team they won the league with, the Italian suffering the same fate as former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, who was sacked in December 2015.

But that is of no concern to Conte, who came under pressure following successive league defeats to Liverpool and Arsenal in September but now has his side eight points clear at the top with 13 games to play.

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"I was already sacked this season with the bookmakers and was lucky to keep the right concentration and to work," Conte told reporters ahead of Saturday's game with Swansea City.

"It is important to finish the season in the right way, but I am ready to face this risk next season. I am focused as are the players about this. There are 13 games and we want to stay top.

"It won't be easy but I am ready to take this risk, because it means we will have won the league!"

On Ranieri's exit, which came after their 2-1 loss to Sevilla in the Champions League last-16 first leg he added: "I am very sad because it is our job and I am disappointed for him, he is a friend, a really good man, a really good manager and he won the title only months ago.

"He reached a dream to win the title and as a coach I am sad.

"For now, it is better to wait. I understand his frustration and the situation but I will call him, which is natural after this – to talk and to show my disappointment for this decision as I think it is very strong.

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"I was surprised after the first game in the Champions League, it was a good result. You only need to win 1-0 and you'd be in the quarter-final, it was a dream for them."

Roberto Mancini is the early favourite to replace Ranieri, but Conte said: "It is a lack of respect to talk about the next man after Claudio.

"I know Roberto and he is a really good coach but it is not right to talk about another manager the next day."