Antonio Conte says decision to allow Mohamed Salah to leave Chelsea was not down to him

Antonio Conte
Image: Antonio Conte says the decision to allow Mohamed Salah to leave Chelsea was not down to him

Antonio Conte has distanced himself from Chelsea's decision to sell Mohamed Salah, saying he was not consulted about the decision.

The 25-year-old moved to Stamford Bridge in January 2014, but left a year later on loan after failing to impress at the club.

Salah then left Chelsea permanently in the summer of 2016 - the same time Conte joined the club - but the Italian says his departure was not his choice.

Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring Liverpool's second goal during the Premier League football match against Bournemouth at Anfield
Image: Mohamed Salah has won awards and broken records in a remarkable debut season at Liverpool, despite failing to impress during his time at Chelsea

Conte said: "No one asked me about him. I don't want to take this responsibility! I would be in trouble.

"I think this season for Salah is fantastic. We are talking about a really good player. I knew him in Italy but this type of season would be very difficult to predict.

"We are talking about a character with a specific characteristic. I am seeing him very clinical. Every chance he has he takes the opportunity."

Salah's current side Liverpool travel to Stamford Bridge on Sunday, live on Sky Sports, and Conte believes it is a good opportunity for his side to close on a place in the top four of the Premier League.

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The Blues know they will have to beat Liverpool if they are to stand any chance of catching their opponents in the league - they are six points behind, with a far inferior goal difference and only three matches to play.

However, Chelsea will not have played for eight days going into the clash at Stamford Bridge, whereas Liverpool travelled to Italy to play Roma for the second leg of their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday.

Conte believes this could benefit Chelsea, saying: "This could be a good opportunity for us. As I said a lot of times in the last three games, if we want to keep the hope alive we have to win.

Sadio Mane runs at Kostas Manolas during the UEFA Champions League Semi-Final, Second Leg between Roma and Liverpool at the Stadio Olimpico
Image: Liverpool lost 4-2 in Rome on Wednesday night, but progressed to the Champions League final with a 7-6 aggregate win

"We have to get three points. Liverpool are a good team - it won't be easy.

"I think now our target, our focus is to finish in the best possible way, to try to fight for a place in the Champions League.

"The situation is not in our hands, but we have to try and start with three points against Liverpool. Then we'll see what happens. Our focus is to finish this season in the best possible way."

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