Antonio Conte has said that the departure of technical director Michael Emenalo in November was a big blow for the Blues to recover from.
Emenalo spent 10 years at Chelsea, first as head opposition scout, then assistant first team coach, before finally being promoted to technical director.
Although Conte’s criticisms of Chelsea’s recruitment policy were perceived as signs of frustrations with the Nigerian, the Chelsea manager has now heaped praise on him.
“To lose Michael, it was a big loss for us, yes,” said Conte, according to The Observer.
“I think so, I think so. Also because Michael did a great job for this club for many years. Last season, he helped me a lot during the season. This season, until he left, he helped me a lot. I remember very well he left just after the Manchester United game… For me, for sure, it was a big loss in November.”
Emenalo is now the sporting director at AS Monaco and has not been replaced at Chelsea. Conte kept his cards close to his chest regarding a potential substitute for him.
“But this is not my decision. As you know very well, my task is to work very hard. This is not my decision. This is the decision for others. I’m not in a position to say [whether an expert in that field should be hired],” he said.
Heading into the final day of the Premier League season, Conte’s Chelsea sit fifth, two points behind fourth-placed Liverpool.