Antonio Conte reckons Chelsea have been “penalised” by the Premier League fixture schedulers over Saturday’s clash with Manchester City.
Chelsea claimed a last-gasp 2-1 win at Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night to top Champions League Group C with two wins from two games.
The Premier League champions play City at 5.30pm on Saturday. Pep Guardiola’s side beat Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night, while Chelsea returned to London at around 2am on Thursday morning following their post-match flight from Madrid.
“In this case I think we are a bit penalised,” Conte said. “To have only one day to prepare for this type of game is not right.
“Honestly I’m very surprised to see that this big game we have to play on Saturday, not on Sunday. I don’t understand why.”
Conte says the international break which follows the City contest means it was less necessary for the game to be played on Saturday.
“There is the international break. It’s very difficult to understand,” Conte added.
The Italian insisted Chelsea would be ready, but he may delay selecting his team until Saturday afternoon.
Conte can take encouragement from Chelsea’s performance at Atletico.
Alvaro Morata and Michy Batshuayi proved there is life after Diego Costa as Chelsea fought back to win in Atletico’s first European game at their new Estadio Wanda Metropolitano home.
Costa, whose return to Atletico was completed on Tuesday, watched on as Chelsea responded from David Luiz’s needless concession of a penalty scored by Antoine Griezmann.
Former Real Madrid striker Morata headed in Eden Hazard’s cross for his seventh goal in eight games for Chelsea, before Batshuayi struck with the final kick of the game.
Conte praised the “personality” of his side’s performance as Chelsea became the first English side to win at Atletico, who had been unbeaten in their previous 11 home games against English opposition.
He said: “You can win, but if you win only to defend, to go and counter attack there isn’t the right satisfaction. Instead to come here and to show we are ready to play… it’s very important.
“We must play always with the same personality, the same desire to play football and to try through the play to deserve to win.”
Atletico boss Diego Simeone conceded his side were second best.
Simeone said: “Chelsea were the better team. The draw was a good result for us, but at the very end they had the patience to move the ball round very well and scored at the last second.”