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Dublin: 6 °C Tuesday 20 November, 2018

Conte unhappy with Chelsea's fixture congestion

With Chelsea facing away trips to Qarabag and Liverpool in the space of four days, Antonio Conte has hit out at his team’s fixtures.

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte

ANTONIO CONTE BELIEVES changes must be made to Premier League fixtures to help English clubs progress further in the Champions League.

Chelsea face Qarabag in Group C on Wednesday before travelling to Anfield to take on Liverpool in a key Premier League clash on Saturday.

No English clubs have reached the final of the Champions League since Chelsea defeated Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga giants’ Allianz Arena home in May 2012.

And Conte has called on sides in continental competitions to be given more help when it comes to scheduling their league matches around European trips.

“For sure I have to make the best decision for these games, because we are playing every three days and it is normal to have rotation,” Conte told a news conference on Tuesday.

“I trust my players and am very sure about my choice. I trust all my players and it is normal to have rotation.

“For us the game against Qarabag is very important as we don’t want to wait to go through to the next round. When you wait or you arrive in this type of moment it could be more difficult for us.

“I would like to underline that I am talking about all teams that are playing in the Champions League, not only Chelsea. England needs to try to understand this and try to change something.”

Chelsea – who are set to play every midweek until the turn of the year – are top of Group C after four matches and will qualify for the next round if they beat Qarabag.

But Conte is insistent Chelsea will find it hard to chase down Premier League leaders Manchester City – nine points clear of the champions – due to their intensive schedule.

“For us it must go game by game, tomorrow is the most important thing for us,” Conte said. “If we win we go into the next round, it is a really good target for us. To reach this target for us before the game against Atletico [Madrid] will be very important.

“On Saturday we are going to play another tough game against Liverpool. This season it is the second time we have had this situation, firstly against Manchester City and now Liverpool are playing tonight and we play tomorrow, a long trip and it will be very difficult to recover and rest.

“Whoever prepares the fixtures for the league must pay great attention. Because it is difficult to ask if we can catch Manchester City if we are in this situation. I don’t want to find an excuse, but this is the reality.”

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