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Conte plays down exit talk, says future is at Chelsea

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, who admitted last month he has struggled to adjust to life in England without his family, has been linked with a return to Italy with Inter Milan.

Antonio Conte. Picture: chelseafc.com

LONDON - Chelsea manager Antonio Conte gave short shrift to media reports linking him with a move away from the English Premier League leaders and said he was eager to build "something important" at Stamford Bridge.

The former Juventus boss, who admitted last month he has struggled to adjust to life in England without his family, has been linked with a return to Italy with Inter Milan.

Speculation went into overdrive, however, after Italian agent Federico Pastorello said Conte might find offers from "historical clubs" difficult to resist.

"I don't like it when others speak for me. Pastorello is a friend, I know him well, but I don't like when others speak for me," Conte told British media.

"If someone wants to know something about me, then they must ask me. We're fighting for the title and we want to achieve this goal, then we'll try to build something important together."

When asked whether that meant he will be at Chelsea next season, Conte added: "Yes, for the next season."

Winger Eden Hazard is another Chelsea employee who has been linked with a move away from the club with British media reporting strong interest from Real Madrid.

Chelsea's Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, however, felt his compatriot would not become distracted by such talk over the last few weeks of the season.

"Eden is not affected by the speculation. He is just calm," said Courtois, who has also been linked with a move to the Spanish giants.

"He knows that he is important to Chelsea, like I do. We are both very happy to be here. The game against City was my 100th for Chelsea, and I hope to have many more."

Chelsea, who have a seven-point cushion over second-placed Tottenham Hotspur with eight games remaining, visit 13th-placed Bournemouth on Saturday.

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