Antonio Conte has distanced himself from rumours he could return to Italy in the summer by saying he is planning for the future with Chelsea, who he says can only now be caught by Tottenham Hotspur at the top of the Premier League this season.
The former Juventus and Italy coach has been linked, mainly in the Italian media, with a move to Inter Milan next season.
It has been reported that his family want him to return to Italy, but Conte says he is paying no attention to the speculation and is intent on bringing success to Premier League leaders Chelsea beyond this year.
“Honestly it’s disappointing when, in the end, you find yourself thrown on the front page with people talking about you,” he told Sky Sport Italia. “When I hear other people talking on my behalf, I don’t like it.
“If somebody wants to know how things are, they just have to ask me. How are things? Well we’re gritting our teeth because we want to finish off this season by doing something huge and unexpected and certainly we’ll try to build something important — something important for next season.”
After beating Manchester City 2-1 at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, Conte says his team have taken another important step towards the title by eliminating a side he rates currently as the best in the Premier League.
With 14 points now the difference between his and Pep Guardiola’s fourth-placed side, Conte says the race for the title is down to just two teams.
“We were up against a great side who, in my opinion, are the best in the league, with a great technical quality and who play good football,” Conte said of City. “It was not easy to get back on track, especially after an unexpected and undeserved defeat to Crystal Palace, but we’ve done it and I’m delighted.
“We need to recover our energy levels now because we’re playing again in three days. I think it’s a battle between us and Tottenham and we’ve got to presume that Tottenham will win all their eight remaining games, and with that in mind we still need a lot of points.”