Antonio Conte has spoken in glowing terms about former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique, the man Chelsea want to replace him with if results do not improve.
Conte is under increasing pressure at Stamford Bridge after losing back-to-back Premier League matches against Bournemouth and Watford, conceding seven goals against the relegation battling sides in the process.
Owner Roman Abramovich is expected to give Conte a stay of execution until after the upcoming Champions League last-16 tie against Barcelona, though could pull the trigger if they lose to West Brom on Monday night.
Luis Enrique is believed to be top of Chelsea’s wish list to replace Conte, though he is not thought to want the job until the summer when he can be reunited with his coaching staff.
Conte knows the Spaniard well from his time in charge of Roma in the 2011-12 season, and, despite bring in the running to replace him at Chelsea, has huge admiration for him.
The Italian said: ‘We played against each other and he’s a really good person. 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.’
Conte also claims he has no hard feelings about Enrique being linked with his job, adding: ‘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.’
Chelsea considering replacing Antonio Conte with caretaker boss Marco Silva
Chelsea are considering the possibility of sacking Antonio Conte and replacing him with axed Watford boss Marco Silva on a temporary basis, according to reports.
The Italian manager is under increasing pressure after a poor run of results, which saw the soon-to-be-dethroned champions lose back-to-back matches against Bournemouth and Watford – conceding seven goals in the process.
Owner Roman Abramovich is losing patience, with some reports even suggesting another defeat to West Brom on Monday night could see him pull the trigger despite a looming Champions League tie against Barcelona.
Former Barca boss Luis Enrique is top of Chelsea’s wish list to replace Conte, though the Spaniard is believed to be reluctant to take over until the summer.
And now The Times report that Silva could be brought in as a short-term stopgap while the club wait on Enrique, though the Portuguese coach could be given the opportunity to prove he deserves the job permanently.
Silva was sacked midway through January after only overseeing victory in one of Watford’s previous 11 matches, with the Hornets blaming Everton’s approach for derailing what had previously been a promising campaign.
Enrique, meanwhile, has been out of work since leaving Barca, though his old coaching setup are currently at Celta Vigo.
Juan Carlos Unzue and Roberto Moreno acted as Enrique’s assistants – with the former now managing Celta – while Rafel Pol worked as fitness coach and Joaquin Valdes was the team’s psychologist.
Chelsea have also been linked with former Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel, while Abramovich is thought to be a huge fan of Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri, who has guided his side to top spot in Serie A.