Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte dismissed his former Juventus team mate Gianluca Vialli's claim that he "cannot wait to leave" the Premier League club, and reaffirmed his commitment to seeing out his contract.
Conte delivered the Premier League title a year ago in his first season in England but has suffered a demoralising campaign this time around, with the club lying eight points off a place in the top four.
"For sure, I predicted this season that it would be very hard for me", he said, ahead of this weekend's clash with relegation-threatened West Ham. "The other speculation is not true". "I can be disappointed on one side but I respect him because he is a journalist and he is doing his job".
"They know I am trying to put all of myself to change this situation because I have great responsibility".
"When you win, you don't see always the problem".
"It was tragic news for us, we are talking about a really good person". Their lackluster performance in Chelsea's first home defeat to Tottenham for 28 years hardly erased that impression. "We have to try to do everything to try to continue, to fight for a top-four place".
"I think on Sunday, we must be ready to make a great memory to Ray", said the boss.
"We must show pride, desire and will to fight until the end of the season".
"We must be realistic to understand that this defeat was a bad defeat for us", he added.
"We saw it with Mourinho, it seemed like some of the players were nearly losing on goal so the manager can get sacked as quickly as possible".
Chelsea have won just six of 19 matches across all competitions in 2018 and have fallen to fifth in the Premier League, eight points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham with only seven games to play, leaving their hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League all but over. "We must have great respect for this tragedy and to think then of playing football, to give our best during the game".