Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has reiterated his criticism of the Premier League’s schedule curation, citing his side’s long haul trip to Azerbaijan that precedes the club’s fixture at Liverpool as ‘another problem’.
The Italian has been vocal of his displeasure at the League’s fixture list on numerous occasions this season, and his latest rant has implied the schedule has aided front-runners Manchester City to their nine point lead this campaign, according to the Sunday Express.
Conte explained: “Now it’s very difficult to think someone can stop them [City]. They are having a fantastic run, they have only drawn one game at home to Everton.
“It was a pity to play against them two days after playing Atletico Madrid away.
“We came back at five in the morning on the Thursday and played on Saturday, so sometimes whoever prepares the fixtures must pay great attention to give each team the same opportunity.
“One team was favourite and you could see if we’d won against City the difference wouldn’t have been nine points.”
Chelsea have now won four games on the bounce in the Premier League, but the recent 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Roma in the Champions League means their game on Wednesday against the Azerbaijani minnows is now more relevant than Conte would’ve anticipated.
And, with City having already opened up a large gap between the chasing pack, the tactician is possibly suggesting Chelsea’s midweek fixture may have to take precedent over the upcoming trip to Anfield, especially considering Qarabag’s back-to-back draws with Atletico.
Conte questions the scheduling of our game at Liverpool on Saturday after playing in Azerbaijan on Wednesday. #WBACHE
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) November 18, 2017
“Now we have another problem. We play Qarabag on Wednesday, we get back to London at 5am or 6am on Thursday and then have a game against Liverpool on Saturday.
“Is this normal? I don’t think so. If people want more balance in this league they must pay great attention when preparing the fixtures.”
Chelsea’s talismanic coach is not averse to mind games, and it appears he has already laid the foundations for the excuses come Saturday, should the Blues come back to London empty handed.