London (AFP) – Antonio Conte claims Chelsea have been the victims of a fixture conspiracy this season.
Conte’s side play Newcastle United in the 1230 GMT kick-off at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, having beaten Swansea City 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.
Conte 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,” Conte 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 doesn’t want special privileges but he is convinced 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.”
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