Published: Wed, November 22, 2017
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Antonio Conte: 'Qarabag contest is biggest of our season'

Antonio Conte: 'Qarabag contest is biggest of our season'

Chelsea, now nine points off the title pace, faced a similarly swift turnaround back in September when they played Manchester City shortly after an away win against Atletico Madrid, with the dominant top-flight leaders having hosted Shakhtar Donetsk the night before.

"For sure I have to make the best decision for these games, because we are playing every three days and it is normal to have rotation", he said on Tuesday.

And Chelsea boss Conte has been thrilled by what he has seen from Hazard in recent weeks following his sparkling display against the Baggies.

The Blues play nearly 2,500 miles away from Stamford Bridge in Baku tonight before facing Liverpool in the Premier League on Saturday.

On league leaders Man City, he said, "It is hard to think that you can catch Man City with the way they are now playing, but the top teams have to try to fight until the end". "Now we're trying to solve these problems, to recover the players, to find the right form for players like Hazard and also Morata - this is the first season that he's playing with regularity". Against Roma, together we didn't show this. "If someone thinks that we are sure to win, it will not be easy". Also [Danny] Drinkwater, now he's starting to play.

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Overall I definitely believe that there is a much higher chance of this being a low-scoring affair than a high-scoring one, so Under 2.5 has to be the pick. "Before this game I studied them a lot and I saw that in the previous games they lost a lot of points and deserved a [better] position in the table than [they are in] now".

Conte is nothing if not positive about fellow managers - with the odd exception, and Under fire Tony Pulis, the WBA manger is no exception.

Conte stressed that he was not just referring to the problems experienced by Chelsea but all of the country's Champions League participants, stating that something must change for the good of English football.

"It is not hard (to motivate the players)". We showed from the start our will to win this game. "Slowly we are changing something from last season".

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