Roman Abramovich will not allow Chelsea’s disgruntled players to influence his decision on whether or not Antonio Conte should be sacked, according to reports. The Italian is under mounting pressure after back-to-back defeats against Bournemouth and Watford, shipping seven goals across the two games, and has been sucked back into the top-four battle. Previous Chelsea managers have lost their jobs in better positions than Conte currently finds himself, with player power costing the likes of Luiz Felipe Scolari and Andre Villas-Boas.
However, The Telegraph are reporting that Abramovich has decided to isolate himself from Chelsea’s players and will not seek their opinion on whether Conte deserves to stay. Previously he has consulted the likes of John Terry, Petr Cech, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba on issues with managers, but no current player has a direct line to the Russian billionaire
Instead, Abramovich will give Conte and his players a chance to lift themselves out of their current slump, with the Italian still likely to be in charge when Barcelona come visiting in the Champions League. Should a time come when he feels the need to dismiss Conte, he will do it only after speaking with director Marina Granovskaia and the rest of the Chelsea board.
Although Abramovich is not as influenced by the players as he once was, he is concerned enough about Chelsea’s current form – and their future under Conte – to draw up a list of potential replacements. Former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique is the favourite to succeed the Italian and is currently out of work, while former Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel and Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri are also on Chelsea’s short list.
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