Football: Conte fumes over Chelsea's congested fixture list and just wants to 'protect my players'


Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is once again angry with his team getting less rest than their opponents.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is once again angry with his team getting less rest than their opponents.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Manager Antonio Conte claims that Chelsea have been the victims of an English Premier League fixture conspiracy this season.

Conte's side play Newcastle in the 1230 GMT (8.30pm in Singapore) kick-off at Stamford Bridge on Saturday (Dec 2), having beaten Swansea 1-0 on Wednesday.

With Newcastle having played 24 hours earlier than Chelsea for their midweek draw at West Bromwich Albion, Conte is once again angry with his team getting less rest than their opponents.

The Italian has previously complained about Chelsea's fixture schedule in relation to matches with Manchester City, Watford and Liverpool following European games.

"Now it's very difficult to think this is a coincidence," he said.

"This is the fourth time. I'm not stupid, if someone wants to joke with me I'm not the right person to joke (with).

"Once it can happen. Twice it can happen. The third time, you start to be perplexed. 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."

Fixture frustrations are nothing new, with Jose Mourinho regularly making complaints while Chelsea and Manchester United boss.

Conte does not want special privileges but he is convinced that the English champions are getting a raw deal.

"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," he said.

"Is it difficult to do this? I don't think so. It is a strange coincidence.

"I'm trying to protect my club, I'm trying to protect my players and I'm trying to protect the fans and maybe also the league."

Catch Chelsea v Newcastle in Singapore on Singtel TV Ch102 & StarHub Ch227 at 8.30pm tonight