Conte’s Chelsea future still in doubt

Antonio Conte reportedly attended meetings at Chelsea’s Cobham training ground on Saturday morning as the club’s 2018/19 pre-season preparations began.

The club tweeted pictures of a group of players who did not take part in the World Cup being put through their paces in training exercises, but Sky Sports have reported that Conte and his backroom staff sat through meetings instead of taking the training session.

Chelsea’s official website reported: “The 2018/19 season is up and running!

“Our non-World Cup players returned to Cobham this morning, as pre-season got underway on a scorching day in Surrey.

“With the World Cup still in full flow, the numbers are diminished, but for those players who didn’t feature in Russia there were plenty of smiles on show as they caught up after a few weeks’ break.”

However, the Blues’ Italian manager faces an uncertain future, with the club reportedly negotiating with Napoli for Maurizio Sarri, who has been replaced at the helm by Carlo Ancelotti, but remains under contract with the Italian club.

Conte won the Premier League in 2016/17, his first season in charge at Chelsea. However, in 2017/18, their disappointing title defence ended in a fifth-place finish. Nevertheless, the club restored some pride by beating Manchester United 1-0 in the FA Cup final.