LONDON -- Antonio Conte says he is ready to "risk" his job if Chelsea win the Premier League, even if he we were to suffer the same fate as Leicester City's Claudio Ranieri next year.
Leicester confirmed Ranieri's sacking in a statement on Thursday, with the club languishing in 17th in the Premier League just 298 days after being miraculously crowned champions of England -- a feat which earned the Italian FIFA's Coach of the Year award.
His departure means the last five Premier League title-winning managers have left their jobs before the end of the following season, but Conte says he is prepared to face the "risk" of extending the sequence next term if it means bringing the trophy back to Stamford Bridge.
"If you remember very well I was already sacked this season by the bookmakers," Conte joked, before adding: "I was lucky to keep the right concentration and continue to work.
"First of all I think it is important to finish this season in the best way and if we are able to reach this dream for me, for the players, I am ready to face this risk.
"I am happy, very happy to face this risk next season but for sure I am really focused, me and the players on this season because there are 13 games until the end and we want to stay at the top. It won't be easy but I am ready to take this risk if it means we won the league."
Conte also admitted he was saddened by Leicester City's decision to sack Ranieri, and said a club is powerless if they allow players to decide a manager's future.
"Yes, obviously I was surprised because after the Champions League game [against Sevilla on Wednesday] the qualification [for the quarterfinals] is open. It is a good result when you finish the first game 2-1 and in the second game you only need to win 1-0 to go to the quarterfinals.
"For Leicester it is a great situation and before the season nobody [predicted] this situation.
"My reaction is very sad, very sad. This is our job. For sure I'm disappointed for him because first he is a friend, a really good man and a really good manager. Only a few months ago he won the title with the club and the players. He reached a dream. For sure I am disappointed as a friend and as a coach."
Asked about reports that the Leicester players had lost faith in Ranieri, Conte added: "I don't like to follow this type of story because I think it is not right. It is a lack of respect for Claudio because I think it is not right that players decide if a manager must be sacked or not.
"If this happens it means the club is poor, without power. I don't believe in this, I don't trust in this and I don't want to listen to this type of story because it is frustrating for a manager to imagine that the players can decide your destiny."
Conte says he will call Ranieri in the coming days to offer his support, but wants to give his countryman time to process the decision first. "For sure, but now it is better to wait because I understand the situation, his frustration," he added.
"I will call him. It is natural after this type of situation to talk and to show him also my disappointment, because I think it is a very strong decision."