Chelsea manager Antonio Conte says it is his “intention, will and desire” to continue in his job for at least the remaining 18 months of his contract.

Italian Conte has been in charge at Stamford Bridge since the summer of 2016, and led the club to the Premier League title in his first season.

They currently sit fourth this term, 18 points behind leaders Manchester City.

On Friday, he again dismissed reports of a rift with the club’s owners, and insisted he was happy in his role.

“From the start of this season there have been a lot of speculation and rumours around me,” he said.

“The only thing I can tell you now is I still have 18 months of contract with Chelsea. My intention, my will, is to respect the contract.

“We signed a three-year contract. I think our desire is to continue our work.

“This season, the situation has always been the same, with a lot of pressure, and I don’t understand why, always around me. Maybe it is because this is Chelsea. This is the only answer I’m having.

“But the pressure is normal. When the situation is too calm, you risk being relaxed and losing the anger, the fire. I like to live with this pressure.”

Chelsea were beaten 3-0 at home by Bournemouth on Wednesday, and play away at Watford in their next league match on Monday.

Conte said it “won’t be easy” for new signing Olivier Giroud to make the starting XI – “we will have to check his physical condition” – but midfielder Willlian “may be able to play”.

“If we’d got three points against Bournemouth, we’d be in second place. But the situation doesn’t change,” he added.

“We must understand that, this season, we have to fight a lot to find a place in the Champions League. I think it is a big challenge for us.”

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