I don't have money to spend at Chelsea - Conte frustrated by investment limits

Ahead of a Premier League clash with leaders Manchester City, Chelsea's Antonio Conte again aired his frustrations regarding spending.

Chelsea's Antonio Conte   -  Getty Images

Antonio Conte has hit out at the Chelsea board again for failing to back him in the transfer market.

Chelsea won the Premier League title in the Italian's first season in English football, but are in danger of missing out on Champions League qualification this term, with pressure mounting on the manager.

Conte's men are fifth in the table with 10 matches to go and a trip to runaway leaders Manchester City on Sunday could see the Blues slip further off the pace.

And ahead of the visit to Pep Guardiola's EFL Cup winners, Conte, when asked about the club's ambition, again took aim at Chelsea's board for a perceived lack of investment.

"I think it doesn't matter to speak about this because I think it's a simple answer," Conte told reporters.

"The question was very clear, my answer was very clear

"I have great ambition, but I don't have money to spend at Chelsea.

"The club knows very well what is my idea, what is my ambition. That is very clear. That ambition must always be the same. When you decide to work with this type of coach, you must understand that you take a coach with great ambition. Not a loser but a winner."

While recent Chelsea arrivals including Tiemoue Bakayoko, Danny Drinkwater and Ross Barkley have made a negligible impact this season, and record signing Alvaro Morata has struggled for form and fitness, former players Mohamed Salah, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku have shone elsewhere.

Conte, however, reiterated he has little control over transfers at Stamford Bridge, with the Italian having reportedly been frustrated by the sanctioned sale of Nemanja Matic to Manchester United.

"I don't know. I don't know," Conte replied when asked if Chelsea are now a feeder club for Premier League rivals. "A lot of questions are for the club, not for me.

"Because I have to work, I have to work on the pitch, and to try to do my best with the players that the club put at my disposal. I repeat: this is maybe the second season and I'm listening perhaps always to the same question. A lot of these questions are not for me but for the club."

Guardiola spent in excess of £200million during the close season, with Benjamin Mendy, Kyle Walker, Ederson and Bernardo Silva among the most expensive arrivals at the Etihad Stadium, the club then breaking their transfer record to recruit Aymeric Laporte in January.

"When you have a good manager and a lot of money to spend, probably you can have a successful season," Conte said.

"If you have a good manager to work very well with the players, and a lot of money to spend... because, especially I repeat, it's very important to have the coach and the club with the same ambition: to improve the team, to improve the idea of football, to improve the quality of your players.

"If you find this situation, probably the season will finish with success. You can win the league, the cup, the cup and league, the Champions League.

"I think I have great admiration for Pep. Pep showed himself to be a great coach. I think that, now, it will be very difficult for other teams to fight Manchester City. When you have a great coach and the possibility to spend a lot of money and keep happy your coach and your staff, it's difficult for the others. Very difficult.

"This is not the first time I'm telling this [to the media]. This is a great danger for the panoramic of the other teams. For a long time. The situation is going to improve. Not to stop, but to improve for them.

"I think that last season we did a fantastic job. We were a great surprise for the league, but also for our competitors. Our competitors didn't rate Chelsea in this way to fight for the title, to win the title. But then, when you start, you have to continue to build something important with the coach."