Antonio Conte allowed himself little time to dwell upon Chelsea’s stunning win at Atletico Madrid as he attacked the Premier League for allowing this weekend’s showdown with Manchester City to be scheduled on Saturday.
Chelsea fell behind to an Antoine Griezmann penalty in the Champions League Group C match at Wanda Metropolitano, before Alvaro Morata’s seventh of the season and a close-range finish from substitute Michy Batshuayi secured a memorable 2-1 triumph.
But Conte’s focus was soon trained back upon his domestic schedule at the post-match news conference, as he noted the workload handed to his defending champions did not tally favourably with early-season leaders City, who beat Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0 at home in their own European assignment on Tuesday.
“I think in this case we are a little bit penalised – don’t forget, Manchester City played yesterday at home,” he said of Pep Guardiola’s side, who are three points above his own at the summit ahead of their trip to Stamford Bridge.
“We played tonight, away. For sure, we will return to London at around 4am. To have only one day to prepare for this type of game is not right.
“Honestly, I’m very surprised to see that we have to play on Saturday, not on Sunday. I don’t understand why.
“But we want to be ready and we have to face this game.”
Chelsea were on top for long spells against Atletico – beaten finalists in this competition in 2014 and 2016 – and the manner of their performance pleased Conte.
— Victor Moses (@VictorMoses) September 27, 2017
“If you win just defending and counter-attacking you don’t get the right satisfaction,” he said.
“Instead, to come here and show we are ready to play, and that we want to understand where we are, that’s very important.
“As you know very well, it’s very difficult when Atletico Madrid score to come back. But, despite this, we deserved to win.”
Conte added: “I always repeat to my players that it doesn’t change whether you play at home or away. You have to play with the same personality and desire to play football, and also to try to deserve to win.
“There are very strong teams in this competition. Atletico are one of them and we are starting to build something important.”
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