Antonio Conte committed to Chelsea as club pursue transfer targets

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Head coach Antonio Conte reiterated his commitment to Chelsea before making a further request for reinforcements ahead of Thursday’s transfer deadline.

The Italian belatedly signed an improved contract, but not an extension, in July and there have been persistent murmurs of behind-the-scenes friction.

Conte has spoken of the need to add to his thin squad and did so again after Sunday’s 2-0 Premier League win over Everton.

But he is adamant he will not walk out if the champions fall short of recruiting the players he wants before Thursday’s deadline.

“I’m totally committed to the club,” Conte said.

“I’m a coach, I’m not a manager. The best of my work is on the pitch, to try to improve my players, to try to improve my team.

“When you want to strengthen your squad you have to give your opinion and speak with your club.

“Then the club go to the transfer market and try to solve the situation, try to help us.

“Sometimes it’s possible, sometimes it’s not possible.”

Conte is leaving recruitment to others – chiefly director Marina Granovskaia and technical director Michael Emenalo – but insisted it was necessary with seven games next month following the international break.

“I need to rotate my players,” Conte added.

One player who has been unavailable so far this season is Eden Hazard, who has the blessing of Conte to join up with Belgium as he continues his return following a broken ankle.

“I spoke with the player and the player is happy to go and stay with the national team. He’s the captain,” Conte added.

“But the most important thing is to continue to work very hard to improve, then have the possibility to bring him to the bench after the international break and start to think he’s a new player for Chelsea this season.”

Another Belgian, Kevin Mirallas, has upset Everton boss Ronald Koeman.

Koeman said: “Mirallas was out because he’s struggling to deal with moments in a season and with disappointments.

“I expect from everybody to be part of the team and if somebody is showing that he is disappointed and his attitude is not the same, then I make decisions.”

Koeman declined to say whether Mirallas would now leave Everton, who are yet to receive an offer for Ross Barkley, who has been linked with Chelsea and Tottenham.

Koeman, like Conte, wants to add players to his squad, but he refused to say if Everton had approached Chelsea about exiled striker Diego Costa.

He added: “We need at least two more players, to get numbers in, but the most important is to get a striker in and one more player.

“If we sign somebody it’s somebody who makes the team better.”

Koeman confirmed Mo Besic played for Everton despite his father being shot in his native Bosnia.

Reports in Bosnia said Besic’s father was shot in the leg and hand following a dispute and is in hospital.

The 24-year-old came on as a half-time substitute with Everton already 2-0 down.

“I don’t know really what happened, but what came out in the paper that’s true,” Koeman added.

“Maybe he’ll get off to see his family and be part of his family for the next couple of days.”

Source: PA

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