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Conte's future in doubt as Chelsea face top-four woe

AFP  |  Newcastle 

With Chelsea's hopes of qualifying for the hanging by a slender thread, the future of their is the main topic of conversation around

Conte has been the subject of constant speculation that his second season with Chelsea could well be his last.

The Italian has feuded with Chelsea's hierarchy over their failure to back his transfer plans last year and has done little to quell the impression he would be willing to leave.

The equation is quite simple ahead of Sunday's final day of the season; victory for Chelsea at and defeat for fourth-placed at home to Brighton would secure a berth for the west Londoners.

A draw however would consign fifth-placed Chelsea to the dubious consolation prize of

Conte appears to have all but accepted that is the most likely scenario, but the Blues boss insists the club is still in a better position than when he arrived following a campaign that saw the departure of and a lowly position of tenth in 2015-16.

"There are six top teams at the start of the season ready to fight for a place in the Champions League," Conte said.

"Failing to make the can happen. In the past, it happened the same.

"Don't forget two years ago, Chelsea ended the season 10th and not in the FA Cup final, not in the semi-finals of the League Cup, and they were eliminated in the last 16 against PSG in It can happen.

"Are Chelsea are in a better place now? For sure, we worked two years and worked very hard to try to build something, to create a base.

"I have to work very hard with my players, and it's for other people to see the situation, the situation, take the right evaluation after two years of work, and then understand which is now Chelsea's position is in the panoramic of

"Now, probably, you can finish fifth and start with a bit of an advantage compared to when you finish 10th."

- Conte speculation -


Despite appearing to write off his side's top-four hopes, Conte will play his best available starting XI at and will not consider resting players with against Manchester United next Saturday in mind.

Conte is adamant that the constant talk over his position at has not upset him and has caused no issues for his side on the back of last season's title success.

"I think I'm living with this speculation since the start of this season," he said.

"My only thought is to do my job in the best possible way. This is my only worry. I think the time I start listening to the speculation about me, this is the moment I start to be worried."

Conte expects to have back available after his untimely absence from Wednesday's frustrating 1-1 draw against Huddersfield with a back

are a side with little to play for but Rafael Benitez, a long-term rival of Conte's especially from their days, will be keen to finish in style after a defeat at Tottenham in midweek.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, May 12 2018. 10:05 IST