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Sunday 17 December 2017

Conte blasts Blues' fixtures schedule

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte. Photo: Reuters
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte. Photo: Reuters

Antonio Conte has suggested there is a fixture conspiracy against his Chelsea side.

Chelsea play Newcastle at 12.30 today, having beaten Swansea 1-0 on Wednesday, 24 hours after the Magpies drew 2-2 at West Brom. Conte has previously complained about Chelsea's fixture schedule in relation to matches with Manchester City, Watford and Liverpool following European games. And the Italian expressed his frustrations again on Friday.

"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. "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." Conte described the schedule which required his side to play at Liverpool last Saturday, after a Wednesday night match in Azerbaijan as "incredible".

Conte says he will accept a Football Association charge of misconduct following his dismissal against Swansea. The Italian apologised to referee Neil Swarbrick and fourth official Lee Mason after his first-half dismissal against Swansea. He was charged on Thursday and can expect a fine, which, he joked, means he will no longer be able to buy his wife, Elisabetta, a birthday present. Conte said: "My wife is angry. It is her birthday in two days and I said to her for this reason I will not buy a gift." Chelsea will again be without defender David Luiz for the visit of Newcastle due to a knee injury.

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