Former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has spoken for the first time with a statement following his reported sacking by the Blues.
The Italian tactician has just been replaced at Stamford Bridge by fellow countryman Maurizio Sarri, with journalist Gianluca Di Marzio among those to claim at the time that his departure was because he was sacked by Chelsea.
Conte got off to a great start in the Premier League, winning the title in his first season in charge with a stylish team built around his innovative 3-4-3 formation.
The former Juventus boss’ tactics got the best out of players like David Luiz and Victor Moses in particular, when neither of the pair had exactly been rock solid for the club in the past.
However, things turned sour in his second season, as CFC slumped all the way down to a final finish of 5th in the table, missing out on Champions League qualification.
Conte did still manage to go out on a high, however, guiding Chelsea to a win in the FA Cup final against Manchester United in May.
In a statement following his rumoured sacking, Conte thanked the club and paid tribute to his staff, wishing the Blues well for the future.
“I would like to thank all of my friends at Chelsea Football Club for their hard work and support over the past two seasons which enabled us to win the Premier League and FA Cup together,” Conte’s statement through the LMA read.
— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) July 16, 2018
“To the players, whose talent and commitment was so important to our successes, I thank them for everything. It has been a pleasure working with them every day.
“To my staff, who always worked so hard, I must say thank you and well done for their professionalism and dedication throughout.
“I have enjoyed my time in England and London so much and I want to thank the Chelsea fans who have been amazing to me and my Family. It was fantastic for me to be able to share my emotions, passion and enthusiasm throughout two unforgettable seasons with these amazing Chelsea supporters, who will always stay in my heart.
— Gianluca Di Marzio (@DiMarzio) July 12, 2018
“I hope Chelsea will continue to be successful and I wish everyone well for next season.
“I have made many memories during my time with Chelsea, which I will take with me into my next challenge.”
It remains to be seen where Conte will end up next, but Chelsea moved fast to hire Sarri as his replacement after some impressive work at Napoli.
Roman Abramovich has long had a habit of changing managers frequently and it’s a method that has largely worked well for the club since he bought them in 2003.