Chelsea name new manager

Italians coach Antonio Conte was named as
Chelsea’s new manager on Monday after the
reigning Premier League champions announced
he had signed a three-year contract that will
start following Euro 2016.
“I am happy we have made the announcement
now so everything is clear and we can end the
speculation,” said Conte, first tipped as a
successor to interim manager Guus Hiddink at
Stamford Bridge last month, in a statement on
Chelsea’s website.
The 46-year-old former Juventus boss took
over the Italian national team in August 2014
and secured their qualification for the European
Championship finals in France, which start in
June.
“I will continue to focus on my job with the
Italian national team and will reserve speaking
about Chelsea again until after the Euros,”
added Conte, who guided Juventus to three
straight Serie A titles from 2012-14 before
taking charge of Italy.
He added: “I am very excited about the
prospect of working at Chelsea Football Club.
“I am proud to be the coach of the national
team of my country and only a role as
attractive as manager of Chelsea could follow
that.
“I am looking forward to meeting everyone at
the club and the day-to-day challenge of
competing in the Premier League.
“Chelsea and English football are watched
wherever you go, the fans are passionate and
my ambition is to have more success to follow
the victories I enjoyed in Italy.”
Chelsea have been without a permanent
manager since the London club ended Jose
Mourinho’s second spell at Stamford Bridge in
December after they lost nine out of the first 16
games of their Premier League title defence.
Under Dutch coach Hiddink, they have mounted
something of a recovery and last weekend’s
4-0 win away to bottom of the table Aston
Villa left Chelsea tenth in the 20-team Premier
League.
Nevertheless they will now end the season
without a trophy and won’t qualify for the elite
Champions League, with even a place in
Europe’s second-tier Europa League now
looking beyond them.
Conte becomes the fifth Italian manager of
Chelsea following Gianluca Vialli, Claudio
Ranieri, Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto di Matteo.
His appointment will also make him the eighth
full-time Chelsea manager during Russian
billionaire Roman Abramovich’s 13 years as
owner of the Blues.
One major item in Conte’s Chelsea in-tray will
be the future of veteran club captain John
Terry.
The 35-year-old former England central
defender, who has spent his entire senior
professional career with Chelsea, announced in
January he would be leaving at the end of the
season only for the club to respond by saying
he could yet be offered a new contract.
Several other players may have been
considering their future at Chelsea, given the
lack of Champions League football next term,
but the fact the Blues have signed a manager
with Conte’s track record could persuade them
to stay put.
Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia,
welcoming Conte’s appointment, said: “We are
very pleased to have recruited one of the most
highly regarded managers in world football and
we are equally pleased to do so before the end
of the current season. This aids our future
planning.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to
thank Guus Hiddink, who has done a great job
since he joined us in December.”
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