Football

Conte: I don't fear the sack

Antonio Conte insists he does not fear the sack after Chelsea eased the mounting pressure on their manager with a gutsy 4-2 home win over Watford on Saturday.

Conte's position has been under growing scrutiny following a dip in form for the champions.

Back-to-back Premier League defeats against Manchester City and Crystal Palace were followed by a 3-3 home draw with Roma in the Champions League last Thursday.

Reports had emerged of Conte's players becoming unhappy with a demanding training regime and the Italian admitted his squad was struggling to cope with the demands of defending the Premier League title and competing in Europe.

FIGHTBACK

A spirited fightback against Watford after Conte's side had trailed 2-1 has gone some way to restoring belief at the club.

"I feel a lot of pressure, but not this type of pressure if the club decide to sack me. Honestly I don't feel that pressure. I trust in my work," said Conte, whose side are nine points behind leaders Manchester City.

"Honestly I will never be worried for this. Never...

"The pressure is I want for my players and to give satisfaction for my fans. I feel this type of pressure."

Chelsea looked set for another disappointment when Abdoulaye Doucoure and Roberto Pereyra overturned Pedro Rodriguez's opener to give Watford a surprise 2-1 lead.

But substitute Michy Batshuayi levelled for the home side and completed the win after Cesar Azpilicueta had put Chelsea ahead.

Azpilicueta believes the result showed the Blues' spirit. He told Sky Sports: "We left it very late and we all had to dig in until the last minute - we showed our spirit... We didn't give up and it was a big win for us."

Watford manager Marco Silva, however, felt the result was "really unfair" on his team.

He said: "I think we didn't deserve the result, even if we took only one point, I think it is not fair to us."

Doucoure, too, felt the Hornets were unlucky, but he found positives in the loss. He said: "We were unlucky, but we're happy with how we played." - WIRE SERVICES

Antonio ConteCHELSEA (EPL)WATFORD