Antonio Conte fires what could be parting swipe at Jose Mourinho by saying Chelsea are better off than when they sacked the Manchester United boss

The Italian looks likely to leave after next week’s FA Cup final against Mourinho’s Manchester United.

His departure will come a year after winning the title.

Champions League qualification is in the balance for the Blues and Conte is confident their ‘failure’ this season is not as spectacular as under the Special One.

Mourinho was sacked midway through the 2015-16 campaign after losing his way six months after winning the title.

Conte said: “Failing to make the Champions League can happen.

"Don’t forget two years ago, Chelsea ended the season tenth and not in the FA Cup final, not in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup, and they were eliminated in the last 16 against Paris-Saint Germain in the Champions League. It can happen.

“Are Chelsea are in a better place now? For sure, we worked very hard to try to create a base.

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"It’s for other people to judge the situation after two years of work, and understand where Chelsea are.

“Now, probably, you can finish fifth and start with a bit of an advantage compared to when you finish tenth.”

Chelsea must win at Newcastle and hope Brighton win at Liverpool tomorrow to reach the Champions League.

But Conte insists his side will punish any Kop slip-ups.

He said: “We have to try to get three points against Newcastle and hope for something positive for us at Liverpool.

“We want to continue to have the possibility of playing in the Champions League.

"If someone sleeps in the last game, you must be ready.”

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