Antonio Conte has called on the Chelsea hierarchy to publicly back him amid growing uncertainty about his future at Stamford Bridge, and even insisted he would be open to extending his contract if possible.
Conte takes Chelsea north to Watford on Monday night, following a difficult patch of form which has seen the reigning Premier League holders win one in four, culminating in the humiliating 0-3 home defeat to Bournemouth on Wednesday.
However, the former Juventus and Italy manager, who has been in something of a public spat with the decision makers at Chelsea over transfer policy, has dismissed claims he is looking to leave and wants clarity over his own future, as speculation rumbles on.
Some reports have even suggested a poor result against Watford could spell the end for Conte's time in London, while the likes of Luis Enrique and Maurizio Sarri have been linked with the hot seat.
Conte said, as quoted by the Mirror: “I must be honest, when there are these type of rumours or speculation after the first game of the season against Burnley, maybe I’d like the club to prepare a statement to say they trust me in my work and my job.
“But, at the same time, I know this never happened in the past, so why should I hope for something different?
“But, for sure, I’d like to have a statement of support against this speculation. The challenge is that, in the past, this never happened.
“So it’s a big challenge to change the approach now. But, for sure, I’d be glad. You only have one person to speak.”
While Conte has complained about transfer policy and has been linked with a return to his former job with the Italian national team, the 48-year-old also insisted his commitment to Chelsea hasn't wavered and he would even be open to extending his current contract beyond its 2019 end point.
“We’re doing the maximum for this club," he continued. "If the club understands this and the club wants to extend a new contract, we can talk.
"Why not? My desire and my will are to continue to work with this club.”
Chelsea can climb back up in third in the Premier League table with a favourable result against Watford, but will have to do so without Andreas Christensen, David Luiz and Ross Barkley who are all out injured.