MILAN, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Italy coach Antonio Conte has dismissed speculation he wanted to quit after Serie A clubs refused to release players for a training camp this week.
Following a meeting with Italian federation (FIGC) president Carlo Tavecchio, the famously volatile Conte told reporters on Monday that he would see out a contract that runs until July next year “whether some people like it or not”.
“I have started out on a journey and I‘m happy to have done so. That journey includes qualifying for the European Championship (in 2016),” he added on the doorstep of the FIGC headquarters in Rome.
“I repeat that I am, and will, remain coach of the national side. I will respect the contract...and hope I don’t have to repeat this any more.”
Conte announced last week that he had called off the training camp, due to take place over three days, after failing to reach an agreement with the clubs.
Italian media reported that the coach was furious and considered quitting.
Conte has visited all 20 Serie A clubs in a bid to improve co-operation with the national side, which predecessor Cesare Prandelli complained had lost prestige with the Italian public.
The training camp dates are not part of the international calendar and clubs were under no obligation to release players.
“We have invested in Conte, it was an act of faith and hope in a person who we hold in the highest esteem,” said Tavecchio. “He is our leader and we want to extend his contract.”
Italy are unbeaten under Conte with five wins and a draw since the 2014 World Cup. (Writing by Brian Homewood, editing by Tony Jimenez)