Jose Mourinho’s complaints over fixture congestion in the Premier League in the last few weeks have been dismissed by Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, per the Daily Mirror.
The Manchester United manager had claimed his former side had the added “privilege” of playing their third and final match of the festive period more than two days later than most other teams.
No Blues advantage, claims Conte
Chelsea last played on New Year’s Eve, beating Stoke City at home, while United saw off Middlesbrough at Old Trafford on the same day. However, the Red Devils were then forced to play just two days later when they defeated West Ham at the London Stadium on Monday.
However, the former Juventus manager, who has guided Chelsea to a five-point lead at the top of the Premier League, claimed that Mourinho was “angry for our position, not for the fixture.”
Chelsea will face Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday night but the Italian boss explained that he didn't see an advantage for his team heading into the game, although their London rivals last played on Sunday – a day later than the Blues.
Conte said that: “the advantage is one more day of rest over Tottenham,” and joked that he “didn’t do the fixtures.”
He added that: “during a season, different situations can happen when you can have advantage - but for sure not this.”
Does Mourinho have a point?
Chelsea are not competing in European competition this season and, having already been knocked out of the EFL Cup, the Blues will only play League and FA Cup fixtures for the remainder of the campaign. In contrast, United are still in the EFL Cup and Europa League – as well as having the same league and FA Cup commitments, so it could be argued that the Portuguese has a valid point.
However, Mourinho’s comments might have been taken more seriously had he cited the poor scheduling of other teams’ fixtures. Southampton, for example, played three times in six days, compared to Chelsea’s three games in ten days.
United’s busy schedule will continue in the coming weeks, with the Red Devils next in action against Reading in the FA Cup this weekend before a two-legged EFL Cup semi-final against Hull City will follow. They will also resume their Europa League campaign against Saint-Etienne next month.