Antonio Conte finding it hard to convince Chelsea to sign players

Antonio Conte has admitted to being “a disaster” when it comes to persuading Chelsea to sign players.

The Italian was regularly outspoken in his criticism of Chelsea’s transfer policy during the recent January window and has suggested that he does not have much say on who the club sign.

Sky Sports reported last month that Chelsea were becoming increasing frustrated with Conte’s public outpourings, and poor performances on the pitch recently have added to the pressure on the head coach.

The reigning champions have dropped to fifth in the Premier League table after back-to-back defeats against Bournemouth and Watford and are 22 points behind leaders Manchester City ahead of the visit of West Brom.

Asked if he thought Chelsea’s current squad could be improved, Conte said: “I don’t know. Usually in my experience, I reached the best results possible with the players I have to work with.

“I think that I’m the type of coach who if I have a player who is 6/10, I bring him to an 8/10. If I have a player who is 8/10, I take him to 10/10. I’m this type of coach.

“My task is this and, for this, I’m very good. But I think I’m a bit of a disaster to convince the club to buy players. I think in this aspect I can improve a lot.

“I have to learn a lot from the other coaches, the other managers, in that aspect. I have to speak more with the managers who are very, very good at persuading their clubs to spend money to buy top players.”

Despite their struggles, Chelsea look set to stick with Conte until at least the end of the season with owner Roman Abramovich understood to be against employing a short-term fix.

According to reports in Spain, former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique is being lined up as a replacement for Conte, though the club have not approached any potential candidates.

Chelsea face the La Liga leaders in the Champions League knockout stages and Conte, who knows Luis Enrique from when the pair both worked in Italy, was full of praise for the Spaniard.

“I have spoken with him, and he’s a really good person,” Conte said. “I have great admiration for Luis Enrique and he is a fantastic coach.

“He reached his targets with Barcelona, and also with Roma. You could see a well-organised team. I can speak about him very well, as a person and a coach.

“We do this job, and our job is not ‘difficult’, but you must be open and understand the situation can change. A club can take different decisions. It’s the same for me.

“But, I repeat, I’m not jealous or envious of other managers. Everyone knows his job, his work. I have, usually, a great respect [for fellow managers].”