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Conte calls on Chelsea to deny rift rumours as he ponders contract extension

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has asked the club to publicly deny persistent speculation about his future, with many in the press linking him with the exit door at the end of the season. 

The Italian also insisted that Chelsea must learn to be more patient with their manager as they try to compete with the likes of Manchester City with significantly less investment.

The Blues boss had already stated his wish to remain at the club for the remaining 18 months on his contract and added he's even open to an extension. However, he did say talks would be on hold until the end of the season.

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“I must be honest, when there are these type of rumours or speculation after the first game of the season against Burnley, maybe I'd like the club to prepare a statement for me, to say they trust me in my work and my job," Conte told reporters at Cobham Training Ground. 

"But, at the same time, I know this never happened in the past, so why should I hope for something different? But, for sure, I'd like to have a statement of support against this speculation. The challenge is that, in the past, this never happened.

"So it's a big challenge to change the approach now. But, for sure, I'd be glad. You only have one person to speak [to make this happen]. I don't want to exploit ... I don't want to be an opportunist [to ask about a new deal]. It's not right, not right. It's not the right time to be opportunistic.

“We have the time to make the best decision. I'm trying to ... no, I'm giving all myself, me and my staff and my players, for this club. We are doing the maximum for this club. If the club understands this and the club wants to extend a new contract, we can talk.

"We can talk. Why not? But I repeat, I don't like to try to push with the press for a new contract. My contract expires in 2019. My desire and my will are to continue to work with this club.”

Chelsea face Watford on Monday as they look to put a difficult January behind them. The club got knocked out of the Carabao Cup at the semi-final stage against Arsenal and were dragged into a top-four battle after suffering four draws and two defeats out of nine games.

Conte thinks that Chelsea's owners and the club's fans need to be patient as the side look likely to miss out on silverware this season. He believes that with Chelsea being outspent by the Manchester clubs and other big clubs in Europe, it will take other methods to compete for the big trophies. 

“You can see the other teams are working very hard, very strong to improve their squads," Conte added. "It's not simple, not simple. I think a club like Chelsea must have more patience than other teams.

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“For sure it would be very difficult. If you compare it to the past, the situation has totally changed. Yes. But especially for this reason, you have to understand that only through a great work, a big work, can you go and try to be closer to these teams who maybe don't have this type of financial problems.

“As you can see, we are working a lot with people like [Ethan] Ampadu, 17, and [Callum] Hudson-Odoi, 17. [Andreas] Christensen is 21, [Tiemoue] Bakayoko 23, [Davide] Zappacosta 25. We took a lot of young players in the market and, in Christensen, we are developing a young player form the academy.

"In my vision, we are doing a fantastic job. Then I don't know if, in other people's vision, they are thinking in a different way. But in my vision, we are trying to build something important with our work; not with words, not with money.

"When you buy or sell, and there is always a big balance [in terms of net spend on transfers] in my years here in Chelsea.”