The major Chelsea storyline looming much larger than tonight’s match at Watford is the job security of manager Antonio Conte. The Italian said that he would welcome a public vote of confidence from Chelsea club leadership, and he added that he is also open to the possibility of having contract extension talks after the season in the summer.
He’s been very vocal about his belief that the board has not given him the war chest that he says he requires in the transfer market, and that has obviously escalated reported tension between himself and club leadership.
As the Blues have fallen down to fourth in the Premier League table, speculation about Conte’s potential sacking has escalated. Conte has said rumors of his demise have swirled since the shocking opening day loss to Burnley.
“I must be honest, when there are these type of rumors or speculation after the first game of the season against Burnley,” Conte said.
“Maybe I’d like the club to prepare a statement for me, no, to say they trust me in my work and my job. 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.”
“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 (up against the reports claiming that he’ll be sacked).”
Of course, you know what a public vote of confidence often means! It’s sometimes the kiss of death; the signal that the end is coming. The only Chelsea manager to receive a public vote of confidence during the Roman Abramovich era was Jose Mourinho.
It came in October of 2015, and two months later, Mourinho was sacked. It doesn’t look like Conte will get a public show of support and maybe he shouldn’t actually really want one. On the topic of a possible contract extension, Conte said:
“I’m giving all of 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.”
“Why not? But I don’t want to be an opportunist. 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 vs Watford injury report: go to this link
Chelsea starting XI prediction: go to this link
Odds: Chelsea FC 8/13, Draw 3/1, Watford 21/4
Prediction: Chelsea FC 2, Watford 1
As always, feel free to post your own Chelsea starting XI prediction, and/or the match final score prediction in the comments section.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.
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