Chelsea boss Antonio Conte: I never feared for my job after Arsenal defeat
LONDON -- Antonio Conte has said he never feared for his job at Chelsea last season, adding that the early 3-0 defeat at Arsenal had helped him understand the way the team needed to play.
Chelsea conceded three goals in less than 45 minutes at the Emirates Stadium last September, prompting Conte to switch to a 3-4-3 formation at half-time.
The move ultimately proved the foundation for their Premier League title triumph, but the nature of the defeat had sparked speculation that Conte might be sacked.
But speaking ahead of Arsenal's visit to Stamford Bridge on Sunday, Conte said he had never allowed outside "voices" to distract him.
"Honestly, I wasn't worried," he said. "No, because I trust in my work. I think that I trust myself and my idea, in my methods.
"Then it can happen that one experience can be positive or negative. But for sure I don't change my mentality, I don't change my method, I don't change my idea of football.
"I remember that game [the Arsenal loss] very well because it was a really bad game for us. Then we changed our system because after that game I understood very well our team.
"We hadn't got balance. In that game they dominated us from the start until the end. But I think after that game we changed a lot of things and then we won the league.
"Don't forget that it [the speculation] happened also this season after the win against Tottenham. Yes, I think every coach must be used to hearing these voices.
"But I think that every coach has to be focused on the work, to continue to work every day. Only through work you can improve your team and stay in one team for many years."
Conte said his determination to trust his own methods had been reinforced by a tumultuous first taste of management at Serie B club Arezzo.
"When I started as a manager, after seven games, or nine, I don't remember, they sacked me," he recalled. "I remember they brought in Maurizio Sarri and then they recalled me. I think in that period the problem wasn't the coach, but maybe the club."
The sacking of Frank de Boer by Crystal Palace after just four Premier League matches this week was another reminder of how unstable modern management can be, and Conte said: "It's always a pity when another coach is sacked.
"In the human aspect I'm very close to Frank for this bad situation. Every coach hopes to have time to work and to try to transfer your ideas, your methods, to your players.
"Sometimes you have this time, sometimes you haven't this time. This is our job. We must be prepared to face this situation.
"Our job is difficult. Every day you have to think, you have to work very hard to try to have a good result. When the result is not good, anything can happen."
Liam is ESPN FC's Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Liam_Twomey.