By MJ Majuru
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has signed a new two-year contract with the Premier League champions, saying they must work even harder this season to remain the top club in the country.
The deal does not extend the Italian’s commitment to the club because he signed a three-year deal when he joined in 2016, but British media reported he has been given improved terms.
“I am very happy to have signed a new contract with Chelsea. We worked extremely hard in our first year to achieve something amazing, which I am very proud of. Now we must work even harder to stay at the top,” 47-year-old Italian Conte said.
Conte, who managed Italy at Euro 2016, led Chelsea to the league title at his first attempt last term and they reached the FA Cup final which they lost to London rivals Arsenal.
No team has won more consecutive games (13) in a single Premier League season than Chelsea under Antonio Conte in 2016/17.
The new contract will come as a relief to Chelsea fans after Conte was reported to be frustrated by the club missing out on Belgium forward Romelu Lukaku, who was signed by Manchester United last week for 75 million pounds ($97.82 million).
Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia added: “Antonio achieved incredible success last season, adapting to English football very quickly and leading us to the Premier League title.
“This new contract reflects our belief that he can continue to deliver results both domestically and as we return to European competition in the Champions League.”
Chelsea has signed defender Antonio Rudiger from AS Roma and midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko from Monaco but need a striker with Spain’s Diego Costa expected to leave the club having not travelled on their pre-season tour to China and Singapore.
They have been linked with Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but the Bundesliga club said on Tuesday that the 28-year-old Gabon forward would not be leaving.
Chelsea also announced that Conte’s compatriots Paolo Vanoli and Davide Mazzotta had joined the west London club as an assistant head coach and assistant/player analysis respectively.