Italy's Conte hired to revitalise Chelsea
LONDON (AP) - Chelsea have turned to another manager renowned for his abrasive temperament as Jose Mourinho's successor.
Having seen Antonio Conte revitalise Italy's national team in the last two years, Chelsea are hoping the three-time, Serie A-winning coach can rouse the London club from its slumber.
Roman Abramovich made Conte his 10th permanent managerial appointment in 13 years as Chelsea owner yesterday, handing out a three-year contract despite the former Juventus player and coach facing sports fraud charges from a match-fixing scandal in Italy. There is a preliminary hearing in the case in Cremona today although Conte is not required to attend.
The 46-year-old Conte does not officially take charge of Chelsea until Italy's European Championship campaign is over. With the final in France not until July 10, Conte could have barely a month to prepare Chelsea for the new Premier League season, which kicks off August 13.
"I will continue to focus on my job with the Italian national team and will reserve speaking about Chelsea again until after the Euros," Conte said.
Conte will have to make an instant impact at Chelsea to prevent a repeat of this sorry season, which saw the reigning Premier League champions slide near the relegation zone before Mourinho was fired in December.
But Conte's reputation is on the line in the match-fixing case, where he is accused of sports fraud in 2010-11 when he was Siena manager. The match under investigation involving him is Siena's 1-0 win at Albinoleffe in May 2011. Siena's 2-2 draw at Novara, also in May 2011, was dropped from the inquiry.
Conte, who has denied wrongdoing, served a four-month sports ban during the 2012-13 season — when he was at Juventus — for failing to report a fixing scandal while at Siena.