Antonio Conte is determined to finish his second season at Chelsea “in the right way”, but admits winning a trophy will not necessarily determine his future at the club.
The reigning champions have struggled in the defence of their Premier League title, with recent back-to-back defeats against Bournemouth and Watford leaving them in serious danger of missing out on a top-four finish.
A string of disappointing results – including losing to Arsenal in the semi-finals of the EFL Cup – have intensified the pressure on Conte, who is under contract until 2019.
Chelsea will hope to get back to winning ways when they host West Brom on Monday at the start of a crucial run of fixtures that includes a fifth-round FA Cup tie against Hull City and two huge meetings with Barcelona in the Champions League, which fall either side of games against Manchester United and Manchester City.
“My contract expires in 2019. In my hand, there is the will. I know I have a contract. In my will, there is the will to stay and continue to work for this club,” the Italian told reporters.
“I think the most important thing is to understand the situation and understand what your targets are.
“When you start a season all these six top teams want to fight for something important, for the title. Sometimes it can happen, like it did for us last season. Other times you have to fight for a place in the Champions League, like this season.
“But to try and forecast is very difficult. You have to finish this season in the right way, too.”
While he could still pick up silverware before the campaign comes to an end, Conte believes trust – rather than any trophy – will be the key factor in deciding whether he remains in charge.
“I think that, in my opinion, you continue to work with a manager or coach not because of what he achieves in one season, but because you trust in him,” he added.
“You build something with him. But it doesn’t mean you have to win something, because that’s not simple. It’s not easy, especially in England, it’s not simple.
“But, in my vision, you can win but, at the same time, the club might not be happy to stay with you. For this reason, it’s right to send the coach away.
“At the same time, you can trust in a coach and his work and continue with him even if you don’t win, and try and build something important.
“There are two ways – there is a stupid way and an intelligent way. This is my opinion. At the same time, I have great respect for every opinion.
“If the club decides to send me away, I don’t know when, it’ll be because they’re not happy with my work.”