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Friday 18 August 2017

Conte eager to be long-term fixture at Chelsea

Gianluca Vialli
Gianluca Vialli

Antonio Conte is eager to extend his Chelsea contract and insists he would love to stay at the club for many years to come.

The Italian has already led Chelsea to the Premier League title in his first season in England and will secure the double if his side beat Arsenal in this evening's FA Cup final.

Inter Milan have been credited with an interest in Conte this summer but he has two years left on his current deal and is keen to sign an extension.

"If the club give me the possibility to stay here and to extend my contract, for sure I am available to do this," Conte said.

"But we have the same idea about the future. The way we have to do things together, to improve the squad and the team.

"But, I repeat, I'm happy for this season and am happy to stay here. I hope to stay here for many years."

Former Chelsea striker Gianluca Vialli this week called on Conte to emulate Alex Ferguson's lengthy tenure at Manchester United and the Blues boss said he was keen to build for the long-term.

"It would be great to do this," Conte said. "For a coach, that's the best solution - to stay for a long time at the same club and build, with the club, something important.

"But you know very well that modern football is dangerous. Our job depends a lot on the results.

"I think the only way that I know, to convince the club I should stay a long time, is to work very hard with my players. For sure, that is my hope."

Arsene Wenger is into his 21st year as Arsenal manager but the Frenchman is yet to confirm his plans for next season. The Gunners are chasing redemption at Wembley after missing out on Champions League qualification in what could be Wenger's final match in charge.

"When you stay for a long time at the same team - we're talking about a great team, not a small team - we must consider him like one of the best managers in history," Conte said.

"For sure, I don't trust that tomorrow will be the last game for Arsene. I think he deserves to work with Arsenal because he showed, in these 20 years, he is a good manager. He did a good job.

"Only this season they missed out on the Champions League. In England, this target, sometimes you can undervalue this."

Chelsea undoubtedly start as favourites to lift the cup after finishing 18 points ahead of Arsenal. "We have to forget that we won the league and be concentrated instead on this target," Conte said.

"In this moment it's very important to keep the right concentration. I think that, in this aspect, we could start as underdogs because we won the league.

"We won the league and we celebrated the league. Instead, we face a team who lost out on the possibility to play in the Champions League next season and they have only this possibility to save their season."

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