(Reuters) - Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is not happy that his team have just one day to prepare for Saturday’s Premier League trip to Liverpool but said his players cannot make any excuses blaming a congested schedule.
The defending champions have the additional responsibility of playing in the Champions League this season and head into a busy period with 11 games in the space of 36 days.
Chelsea beat Qarabag 4-0 in Azerbaijan on Wednesday to enter the last 16 in Europe’s elite competition but their return to London was delayed due to bad weather the following day.
“This week was an intensive week for us but at the same time it’s right I don’t find excuses and to play a good game against a good team like Liverpool,” Conte told a news conference on Friday. “For sure this was a strange week.”
Conte suggested that some members of the team were “afraid” when their flight needed two attempts to land safely in London in windy conditions in the early hours of Thursday but the manager played down the incident.
”It was a problem to land... It was a lot of wind. We tried to land the first time but it wasn’t possible. Then the captain tried again and the second time was positive.
”To get to your house at six in the morning is not simple and then to rest and recover. Only one day to prepare for a big game is not right. But we have to do this... It won’t be easy but at the same time we have to do our best.
Chelsea were in a similar situation earlier in the season when they travelled to Atletico Madrid on Sept. 27 and lost 1-0 to leaders Manchester City three days later.
“I think they (Premier League) have to pay more attention and try to give the same possibility to the team to recover in the same way.”
Chelsea are third in the table with 25 points after eight wins, two draws and three defeats while Liverpool are two places and three points below them.
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru Editing by Jeremy Gaunt