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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Antonio Conte: Judge Chelsea's performance in the transfer window at end of the season, not now

Italian dismisses rumours on why club failed to sign Ross Barkley from Everton and is coy on speculation over where next for Diego Costa

Antonio Conte says only time will tell if Chelsea had a good summer transfer window or not. Alastair Grant / Associated Press
Antonio Conte says only time will tell if Chelsea had a good summer transfer window or not. Alastair Grant / Associated Press

Antonio Conte has hit out at "ridiculous" reports he turned off his phone when Ross Barkley wanted to speak to him over a possible transfer to Chelsea.

Everton midfielder Barkley's move to Stamford Bridge broke down on transfer deadline day, with conflicting information emerging over the reasons.

Barkley was reported to have changed his mind on the £35 million (Dh169.7m) Chelsea switch, but Conte rubbished claims that a lack of personal contact played any part in the England star's U-turn.

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Chelsea missed out on Fernando Llorente, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Barkley on deadline day, but Conte insists the Premier League champions' performance in the transfer window can only be judged at the end of the season.

"First of all I want to tell you that I don't like to speak about players of other teams, because I think it's a lack of respect," said Conte.

"But about this issue (Barkley) I think it's ridiculous what I read, so I stop. It's ridiculous.

"I think the club tried to do its best in the transfer market.

"Sometimes you're able to buy, sometimes you're not, for many reasons. But I think the club tried to do its best during the transfer market."

Asked to rate Chelsea's transfer window business, Conte replied: "This question is very difficult to answer.

"I think we have to wait until the end of the season and we'll see."

Fenerbahce have been linked with a move for exiled striker Diego Costa this week, though the Turkish club have completed a loan deal for Tottenham frontman Vincent Janssen.

When quizzed on Costa, Conte replied: "(I have) no news about him; my focus is on English football, not Turkey.

"I think when you are a manager and a coach you must be prepared to face every situation.

A post shared by Chelsea FC! 🏆 (@chelseafc) on

"Sometimes it's easy, sometimes it's difficult. But every manager has great experience to face these kinds of situations."

Defending Chelsea's transfer business again, Conte insisted the London side must put missing out on several targets behind them.

Asked if he was surprised two England players in Oxlade-Chamberlain and Barkley rejected Chelsea, Conte replied: "Yes, but don't forget that one English player signed in Drinkwater.

"If I don't make a mistake, he's an English player, so we're happy with that. We are happy with him.

"But, I repeat, now it's not important to look in the past because the past is the past. We have to be focused on the present and the present is this. We are happy."

A post shared by Chelsea FC! 🏆 (@chelseafc) on

Paris Saint-Germain are under Uefa investigation surrounding Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.

Conte insisted Chelsea will continue to fall under Uefa's rules, despite PSG's big-money acquisitions of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

Monaco striker Mbappe's loan deal with a view to a permanent switch appears to circumvent FFP regulations, but Conte vowed Chelsea will not follow suit.

"I think it's very important to have always a good balance between buying and selling. It's important to respect financial (fair play)," said Conte.

"I think we respect it. This issue is not easy. Not easy. If you want you can find always a lot of solutions."

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