Conte replies Mourinho over fixture scheduling: I’ll rather be playing in Europe than watching on TV

By Richard Johnson


Antonio Conte has rejected Jose Mourinho’s suggestions that Chelsea are set to have an easier fixture schedule around their FA Cup quarter-final clash with Manchester United.

Mourinho vented his frustration at the fact that Manchester United’s FA Cup clash with Chelsea was scheduled for a Monday night, just three days before the Red Devils’ Europa League last-16 clash.

To make matters worse for Mourinho’s side, Manchester United were on Friday pitted against Russian side Rostov to leave them with a 1,872-mile trip for the game.

However, Conte has insisted that he would much rather his team be competing in Europe this season than not playing midweek games.

Speaking at his pre-match news conference at Cobham on Friday afternoon, Conte said: “In this moment, I think the real advantage was before, because when you arrive in a new team and you have to bring your idea, your philosophy, you make a lot of work, you need a lot of time to work all week, I think this is the real advantage.

“Now, to watch Champions League or Europa league on TV is not good for me or the players because we want to stay there to play for something important.

“Champions League is important – the top – but the Europa League is also strong. To watch Wednesday and Thursday is not good. We have this situation because of last season, not because someone invented it. Last season was very bad.”

Chelsea are currently gearing up for their Premier League clash against Swansea City at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon.

The Blues are flying high at the top of the Premier League table and are eight points clear of closest challengers Manchester City.



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