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Published: 13:23 | 16/4/18

Conte: Players don't need to play for me


Amid speculation that Antonio Conte is set to leave his role as Chelsea manager at the end of the current season, the Italian has called on his players to play for the club, not for him.

PSG have been heavily linked with bringing Conte to Paris this summer, as the French league champions-elect look set to give current manager Unai Emery his marching orders. Last season's Premier League champions have failed to maintain the standards set in Conte's first season in charge of the Blues, with the club seven points off the Champions League-qualification spots, and having exited the Champions League at the last-16 stage to Barcelona.

They did come from 2-0 down to beat Southampton at St Mary's in the Premier League on Saturday, but the fact it was their first victory on the road for three months says much about their away form this season.

Chelsea's last hope of silverware this season is the FA Cup, in which they play a semi-final against Southampton on Sunday coming, a game which is live on the eir Sport pack [kick-off 3pm].

"The players must play like this [in the second half against Southampton] in every game, not for me, but for the club," said Conte. "They must have great respect for the fans. They have to play for the club, for our fans, and to show great character like they did in this game. This is the best possible way for a player to show they are a fantastic professional.

"I was a player, and the players must play every game, and not for me, but for the club, and for the fans. They must have great respect for this badge, they don't have to play for the coach."

Chelsea face Southampton in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Sunday, 22 April, live on BT Sport 1 [kick off 3pm].

Chelsea face Swansea in the Premier League at Liberty Stadium on Saturday, 28 April, live on BT Sport 1 [kick off 5.30pm].

Image: Getty/ Henry Browne

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