Antonio Conte has insisted that he will be leaving Chelsea in a far better condition than he met the club after Mourinho’s departure. Chelsea emerged as Premier League winners last season, a year after finishing in a lowly 10th position which resulted in Mourinho’s sack.

However, Conte and his men have had to endure a tough and challenging season this term and will likely miss out on next season’s UEFA Champions League unless Liverpool lose at home to Brighton while they win away to Newcastle.

Chelsea face Manchester United next weekend in the finals of the FA Cup, a game whose result may not matter as Conte has dropped a hint that his future lies elsewhere, as he claimed that he has been left in the dark about the club’s plans in the summer.

‘Don’t forget two years ago, Chelsea ended the season 10th and not in the FA Cup final, not in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup and they were eliminated in the last 16 against PSG in the Champions League. It can happen.

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‘You must know that there is this possibility, because you play in a strong league. For this reason, you have to know this and prepare in the right way. There are six top teams at the start of the season ready to fight for a place in the Champions League. It can happen. In the past, it happened the same.’

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When asked if he would leave Chelsea in a better place than when he arrived, Conte responded:

‘For sure, we worked two years and worked very hard to try to build something, to create a base.

‘I think you remember. Last season, after a 10th place, we won the Premier League. It was difficult. We worked very hard, but we won. After a 10th-place finish. Now, probably, you can finish fifth and start with a bit of an advantage compared to when you finish 10th.

‘We are struggling to take a place in the Champions League. But, I repeat, you play in a league that is very tough; where there are six top teams who fight to take the four Champions League places. It can happen. Last season, if I remember, United finished sixth and Arsenal fifth. It means you must pay great attention for the present and the future. It won’t be easy. It’s not automatic that you finish every season in the top four.’

He added: ‘For sure, probably, I will go to Milan for the game for Pirlo on the 21st [of May]

‘Then we don’t know, at the end of the season, if we have friendly games. I don’t know anything about our end of season. For sure, in the next week, the situation will be more clear for the end of the season.

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‘Now, I think we must be focused to finish the season. Then it will be the right moment for the person to understand the situation and take the best solution, find the solution in the best possible way.’