LONDON — Antonio Conte has warned Chelsea he will never change his demanding ways as the FA Cup winning boss waits to discover if he will be sacked.
Conte ended a troubled season on a high note thanks to Chelsea’s 1-0 victory over Manchester United in Saturday’s final at Wembley.
Eden Hazard’s first half penalty was followed by a backs to the wall display as Conte won the second trophy of his two-year reign in what may prove his final game in charge.
Whether FA Cup glory will be enough to convince Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich not to sack Conte remains in doubt after the Blues finished fifth in the Premier League and missed out on Champions League qualification.
The Italian has been embroiled in a turbulent campaign marred by his feud with the club’s hierarchy over their failure to back his transfer plans following last season’s Premier League title triumph.
Conte is also said to have infuriated several Chelsea stars with his intense personality and regimented training sessions.
But the former Juventus and Italy coach is adamant his managerial style has made him a “serial winner” who should be respected.
In a clear warning that he will never stop pushing his players or demanding boardroom backing, Conte emerged from the jubilant Chelsea dressing room to send a defiant message to his club.
Still soaked in champagne from the post-match celebrations, Conte said: “After two years the club knows me very well. If they want to continue to work with me, they know me.
“I can’t change. My way is always the same; hard work and to build a strong mentality with my players.
“I can’t change. I’m this and I think my past speaks very clear as a player and as a manager.
“You can say what you want, but I’m a serial winner.
“I showed this in England in a difficult moment for the club. To win in this way this season gives me more satisfaction than my wins in the past.”
Conte, who won three Serie A titles with Juventus, has one year left on his contract after signing an improved deal without an extension at the end of last season.
In truth, Conte may have burned too many bridges to stay with Chelsea amid speculation that former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique and Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri are Abramovich’s top targets to succeed him.
If Conte does leave, it will be despite the support of Chelsea’s fans, who serenaded him as he joined in the celebrations on the Wembley turf. — AFP