Antonio Conte told Chelsea that sacking him would be “a stupid way” to react. “We are actually meeting our expectations.”

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The former Juventus and Italy boss won the Premier League in his debut season, but has struggled this term and is fresh from a humiliating 4-1 defeat to Watford.

As rumours continue to swirl over his potential replacement, Conte is fighting for his job in public.

“You continue to work with a manager or Coach not because of what he achieves in one season but because you trust in him. Then you build something with him,” he said in a Press conference.

“But it doesn’t mean you have to win something, because that’s not simple. Not easy. Especially in England. The way I look at it, you can win but, at the same time, the club might not be happy to stay with you. In that case, it’s right to send the Coach away.

“At the same time, you can trust in a Coach and his work and continue with him even if you don’t win, and try and build something important.

“There are two ways. There is a stupid way and an intelligent way. This is my opinion. At the same time, I have great respect for everyone’s opinion. If the club decides to send me away, I don’t know when, it’ll be because they’re not happy with my work.

“As you know very well, my contract expires in 2019. From my point of view, there is the will to stay and continue to work for this club.

“I’m very happy with the commitment of my players and the behaviour of my players. They show me every day they want to overcome this situation. But this ‘situation’ … we are talking about a team that is fourth in the league, that is preparing to face the game against Barcelona. We are in the FA Cup competition and we reached the semi-finals in the Carabao Cup.

“We understand that, when you lose two games in a row, the situation is not simple. But, maybe, we are increasing the difficulty of this team.

“It is as if we are a side fighting in the relegation zone but we are actually meeting our expectations. I don’t think anyone trusted in us to win the title this season. If I remember, there were two teams everyone spoke about fighting for the title, both from Manchester.

“Also last season, we started behind [them]. For this reason, there are too many speculations around this club, around me, around this team. Maybe people have to find a bit more balance. But I understand that we have to live with this pressure, and it’s OK for me and my players.”