(Reuters) - Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is pleased with the way his side have reacted to setbacks this season and says the players have shown great character to reach the last 16 of the Champions League.
Chelsea’s European campaign suffered a setback last month with a 3-0 defeat at AS Roma but they regained top spot in Group C after Wednesday’s 4-0 win over Qarabag in Azerbaijan.
“This group is showing great character,” Conte told reporters after the match.
“From the start we faced a lot of problems this season. Our answer was positive, almost always positive. For sure, the second half against Roma was bad.
“These players show me every day great commitment, great will, desire to fight.”
Conte has questioned the lack of preparation time between domestic and European fixtures and raised the issue again as Chelsea turn their attention to Saturday’s Premier League trip to Liverpool.
“To have only one day to rest and only one day to prepare (for) this big game is not simple, is not easy. I think also it’s not right,” he said.
“I don’t want to make excuses, but this is the reality.”
Chelsea, third in the league, nine points adrift of leaders Manchester City, have won two and drawn three of their last five league games at Anfield.
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford