Conte willing to risk curse of title winners

Chelsea's Italian head coach Antonio Conte arrives for the English Premier League football match between ...
Chelsea's Italian head coach Antonio Conte arrives for the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Chelsea at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on February 12, 2017. PHOTO/Oli SCARFF / AFP


Antonio Conte would happily expose himself to the curse of the Premier League title winners if it means Chelsea are crowned English champions this season.

Claudio Ranieri was sacked by Leicester on Thursday less than nine months after masterminding his club’s incredible title triumph.

The Italian isn’t the only recent English title winning boss to be axed not long after his moment of glory however.

Jose Mourinho was sacked by Chelsea in December 2015, seven months after winning the Premier League, while Manuel Pellegrini lasted only two more years after winning the title with Manchester City in 2014.

Roberto Mancini, tipped to replace Ranieri at Leicester, won the title with Manchester City in 2012 and yet exactly a year later he was dismissed.

With Chelsea eight points clear at the top ahead of Saturday’s home clash with Swansea, Blues boss Conte, who took charge in July, knows there is a reasonable chance he will be the next manager to lift the trophy and he doesn’t care about any supposed curse.

“First of all I think that it’s important to finish this season in the best way and if we are able to reach this dream – for me, for the players – I’m ready to face this risk,” Conte told reporters on Friday.

“There are 13 games until the end of the season and we want to stay at the top of the table. It won’t be easy, but I’m ready to take this risk (if it) means we won the league.”

Conte laughed off the prospect of being sacked, as he did earlier in this season before Chelsea won 13 successive Premier League games to take pole position in the title race.

“If you remember very well I was already sacked this season with the bookmakers,” Conte added.

“I was lucky to keep the right concentration and to continue the work.”

Conte has a good relationship with Ranieri and plans to call the former Chelsea boss to show his support for his fellow Italian.

“I’m very, very sad, because this is our job and for sure I’m disappointed for him. First, he’s a friend. He’s a really good man. And he’s a really good manager. He reached a dream to win the title,” Conte said.

“I understand the situation. I understand his frustration. For sure I’ll call him. It’s natural after this type of situation to talk and to show him also my disappointment for this decision.”

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