LONDON -- Antonio Conte warned that Chelsea must match his ambition in the transfer market if they want to keep him at Stamford Bridge beyond this season.
Tensions between Conte and the Chelsea hierarchy have been building since last summer's troubled transfer window, and the Italian's numerous pointed comments about the club's recruitment policy have strained relations to the extent that he is widely expected to leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the campaign.
Conte has been dismayed by Chelsea's inability to mount any form of Premier League title defence this season, thanks in large part to the historic pace that has taken Pep Guardiola's Manchester City 16 points clear at the top of the table with 10 matches remaining.
And speaking in a news conference on Friday, the Italian insisted he and Chelsea must find a similar shared vision to the one that has underpinned Guardiola and City's remarkable success if he is to stay at the club.
"I have great ambition, but I don't have money to spend for Chelsea," Conte said. "The club knows very well what is my idea, what is my ambition. That is very clear. That ambition must always be the same.
"When you decide to work with this type of coach, you must understand that you take a coach with great ambition. Not a loser but a winner. You must understand this."
Asked if Chelsea share his ambition, Conte replied: "I don't know. I don't want to talk about this. Now it's important to stay focused on the present. These topics are for the future."
Conte attributes City's dominance to a combination of Guardiola's coaching skill and vast investment in the squad -- the Premier League leaders spent in excess of £200 million on five new players last summer and added centre-back Aymeric Laporte for £58m in January -- and he does not expect them to be surpassed at the pinnacle of English football anytime soon.
"For sure, when you have a good manager and a lot of money to spend, probably you can have a successful season," he added. "It's very important to have the coach and the club with the same ambition: to improve the team, to improve the idea of football, to improve the quality of your players.
"If you find this situation, probably the season will finish with success. You can win the league, the cup and the Champions League.
"I have great admiration for Pep. He showed himself to be a great coach. I think that, now, it will be very difficult for other teams to fight Manchester City.
"When you have a great coach and the possibility to spend a lot of money and keep your coach and your staff happy, it's difficult for the others. Very difficult.
"This is a great danger for the panoramic of the other teams, for a long time. The situation is going to improve, not stop, for them."