Antonio Conte is running out of fingers on his hand to count the number of times he feels wronged by the Premier League schedulers.
Speaking to reporters ahead of Chelsea’s match with Newcastle on Saturday, Conte suggested that there was some sort of conspiracy against his side, complaining how he believes they play games on shorter rest than other teams. Chelsea played on Wednesday in a 1-0 win over Swansea City and will play the early match on Saturday, while its opponent Newcastle played on Tuesday.
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“It’s difficult to think it’s a coincidence,” Conte said. “This is the fourth time. If someone wants to joke with me I’m not the right person to joke with.”
Conte complained in the past about some of Chelsea’s fixtures, including why its game against Liverpool last weekend wasn’t delayed a day after the team’s long trip back from Azerbaijan on Wednesday, giving the team just two days rest before playing again. But to be fair, the Premier League schedule is organized for TV ratings and Chelsea, as defending champions, will often get one of the primetime spots, whether the early or late game on Saturday.
“Once it can happen. Twice it can happen. The third time, you start to be perplexed,” Conte continued. “In only 14 games [it has happened] four times. Every team has this type of situation. But from start of the season, I don’t know, I see only Chelsea to have this type of situation. I don’t want advantages. If we have to play every two days, I’m ready. But we need to have the same rest as our opponents, then we see what happens.
“Is it difficult to do this? I don’t think so. It is a strange coincidence.”
Jose Mourinho has previously complained that his sides don’t get enough rest ahead of Champions League matches. In some countries, the league will postpone a game or move it back a day to help give the team some extra time before or after a Champions League match. However, this is rarely seen in England, Germany, France, Spain and Italy.
Ultimately, Conte needs to just get over the scheduling and use the massive squad of players he has, rotating players in and out to give them rest.