Soccer: Chelsea boss Conte calls for Premier League fixtures rethink
(Reuters) - English teams are not being given enough time to recover from Champions League games and the Premier League should review the way the fixture schedule is drawn up, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has said.
Chelsea are second in their Champions League group and face Qarabag in Azerbaijan later on Wednesday seeking to book their spot in the last 16. They are then scheduled to face Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday.
Conte suggested the congested schedule is one of the reasons English sides have failed to reach the Champions League final in recent years. Chelsea were the last English club to reach the final when they beat Bayern Munich in the 2011/12 season.
"It will be very difficult for us to recover," Conte told reporters on Tuesday. "Whoever prepared the fixtures for the league must pay great attention.
"I'd like to underline I'm talking for all the teams who are playing in the Champions League, not just for Chelsea. At this moment, England needs to try to understand this problem and change something."
Conte said Chelsea were in the same situation in September when they travelled to Atletico Madrid on Sept. 27 and hosted Manchester City three days later.
"For a lot of time, there hasn't been an English team playing a final in the Champions League. Why is this? The teams are very strong, and every team has the possibility to go through to the Champions League final," he added.
Chelsea are nine points behind league leaders Manchester City and a point behind second-placed United.
(Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)