Antonio Conte is confident Chelsea’s bigger fixture list will not damage his chances of retaining the title this season.

Chelsea’s game at Leicester on Saturday is the first of seven matches in just 21 days due to the club being back in the Champions League.

Conte did not have such an intense schedule to worry about in his first campaign last term, when he led them to the title. The Italian said being able to work with his squad all week was key to that success, but insists he has a different advantage this time around.

He explained: “A year ago they didn’t know my idea of football, my physical work and the analysis. It is easier now for me and my job at this point of the season. The feeling is a lot better if you compare now to this time last season.”

Conte is also happy with his  centre-half options, despite seeing John Terry, Nathan Ake and Kurt Zouma depart. Chelsea were keen to buy Virgil van Dijk and Leonardo Bonucci, but the former stayed at Southampton and the latter was sold by Juventus to AC Milan.

Yet the Blues managed to buy Antonio Rudiger from Roma, while Andreas Christensen returned to Stamford Bridge after a two-year loan at Borussia Monchengladbach.

Conte added: “Christensen is a good player, he will play. I have a lot of confidence in him and he is a good prospect for Chelsea.”