Conte out as manager after Blues wield ax

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Chelsea has sacked Italian Antonio Conte as manager, media in Britain and Italy reported yesterday.
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Chelsea has sacked Italian Antonio Conte as manager, media in Britain and Italy reported yesterday.

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis had said on Wednesday that the English Premier League side was close to securing a deal for former Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri to replace Conte.

There was no immediate confirmation from Chelsea, which won the EPL title with Conte in his first season after joining in 2016 and also the FA Cup in his latest campaign.

The former Italy manager had a year remaining on his current contract and had already taken charge of preseason preparations at the club’s Cobham training ground in London.

Conte’s future with the Roman Abramovich-owned club has looked uncertain for months, however, with the West Londoners failing to qualify for the coming season’s UEFA Champions League after finishing fifth in 2017-18.

Sarri was replaced by former Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti in May with the Naples club seeking to end Juventus’ dominance in the league.

The 59-year-old led Napoli to two second-place and one third-place finish in three seasons in charge.

Meanwhile, former Polish international Jerzy Brzeczek was appointed head coach of the national team, the country’s football association announced yesterday.

The 47-year-old replaces Adam Nawalka, whose highly-fancied national squad was eliminated in the group stage of the World Cup in Russia.

Brzeczek was a midfielder who captained Poland, won 42 caps, scored four goals and was part of the team that was runner-up at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

He played for a string of Polish and Austrian clubs and had a stint with Israel’s Maccabi Haifa in a 20-year career.

After retiring he became a coach and led Wisla Plock to a fifth-placed finish in the Polish league last season.

His first match will be away to Italy on September 7 in the new UEFA Nations League.

Nawalka has said he feels responsible for the World Cup disappointment and will stand down as Poland manager on July 30.

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