Antonio Conte has hit out at “ridiculous” reports he turned off his phone when Ross Barkley wanted to speak to him over a possible transfer to Chelsea.
Everton midfielder Barkley’s move to Stamford Bridge broke down on transfer deadline day, with conflicting information emerging over the reasons.
Barkley was reported to have changed his mind on the £35million Chelsea switch, but Conte rubbished claims that a lack of personal contact played any part in the England star’s U-turn.
Chelsea missed out on Fernando Llorente, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Barkley on deadline day, but Conte insists the Blues’ performance in the transfer window can only be judged at the end of the season.
“First of all I want to tell you that I don’t like to speak about players of other teams, because I think it’s a lack of respect,” said Conte.
“But about this issue (Barkley), I think it’s ridiculous what I read, so I stop. It’s ridiculous.
“I think the club tried to do its best in the transfer market.
“Sometimes you’re able to buy, sometimes you’re not, for many reasons. But I think the club tried to do its best during the transfer market.”
Asked to rate Chelsea’s transfer window business, Conte replied: “This question is very difficult to answer.
“I think we have to wait until the end of the season and we’ll see.”
Fenerbahce have been linked with a move for exiled striker Diego Costa this week, though the Turkish club are aiming to complete a loan deal for Spurs’ Vincent Janssen.
When quizzed on Costa, Conte replied: “(I have) no news about him; my focus is on English football, not Turkey.
“I think when you are a manager and a coach you must be prepared to face every situation.
“Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s difficult. But every manager has great experience to face these kinds of situations.”