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Frustrated Antonio Conte 'transfers' his suffering to Chelsea players

Alison Bender recaps the key talking points as Antonio Conte spoke before Chelsea's clash with Manchester United.

Antonio Conte tries to pass on his "suffering'' after a defeat to his Chelsea players in a bid to get a positive response.

Conte declined to discuss Nemanja Matic's transfer from Chelsea to Old Trafford, or comment on his relationship with Jose Mourinho, ahead of Sunday's Premier League clash with Manchester United.

The Blues boss instead focused on his own team, who are seeking to respond from Tuesday night's 3-0 Champions League loss at Roma, which saw Conte questioning their "hunger."

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Adversity will reveal the true character of his players, according to the former Juventus manager.

"We are struggling a lot, because we are facing a lot of important problems,'' he said. "To solve these problems is not simple. In this moment you can see if you are a winner or a loser.

"It's important to show our character, to be strong, to face the problem in the right way.

"I try to transfer my suffering to my players. Sometimes I am able to do this, to have a good answer.''

Chelsea twice beat United at Stamford Bridge last season, but Conte will accept responsibility if things go wrong this weekend.

He said: "I'm a coach who doesn't like to find excuses. Sometimes I prefer to [face] all the mistakes.''

Mourinho cut a frustrated figure at his former stomping ground last season after Chelsea won 4-0 in the Premier League and 1-0 in the FA Cup.

Antonio Conte was left frustrated after Chelsea's Champions League loss to Roma in midweek.

The Portuguese, who won three Premier League titles in two spells with Chelsea, and Conte have exchanged verbal taunts, but the latter declined to add to the animosity.

Conte said: "It's not important, the relationship between the coaches. We have to respect the job of the other coaches.

"He's an opponent and I'm an opponent for him. After the game it will be the same.''

A large portion of the squad which won the title under Mourinho in 2014-15 remain at Chelsea, but Conte does not believe having their former leader in the visiting dugout affects his players.

He said: "In this time, you see only opponents. It will be the same for Matic in the other side.''

Asked if he was friends with any other managers in England, Conte replied: "Honestly, not now, no. Before, I had a really good relationship with Claudio Ranieri and after the awards for the best coach and the best player at FIFA, we went for a dinner with our wives.

"But I think it's very difficult to speak about 'friendship' with other coaches because then they become an opponent. You can have respect, for the job and the work, but to speak about friendship is difficult."

There has been regular speculation over Conte's own position, due to the Blues' battle for consistency this term.

Owner Roman Abramovich visited Chelsea's Cobham training ground last Sunday, following the win over Bournemouth, which Conte insisted was not unusual.

"My relationship [with Abramovich] is the same as last season,'' Conte added. "I don't see a difference. I know I have to do my job. I'm satisfied with what I'm doing this season and last season.

"I know I have to do my job. My only worry is to do my job with all myself. I'm doing my job in this way so, for this reason, when I finish my work and go home, I'm satisfied with what I'm doing this season and last season for this club."

Chelsea have lost three of their first 10 Premier League matches this term, to sit nine points behind leaders Manchester City entering this weekend's fixtures.

Asked how important Sunday's game is for the title race, Conte pointed to the form of Pep Guardiola's side.

"Now there is a big problem for all the teams that want to fight for the title and this big problem is Manchester City,'' said Conte, who hopes N'Golo Kante will return from a hamstring problem.

"If they continue in this way it will be very difficult to fight for the title.''

Information from Press Association Sport was used in this story.

Liam is ESPN FC's Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Liam_Twomey.


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