Chelsea manager Antonio Conte dismissed talk of a favourable festive fixture list, claiming rivals are jealous of his team’s lead atop the Premier League table.
Conte and Co. are set to face Tottenham on Wednesday – their third match over 10 days, much to the frustration of Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger and Manchester United’s Jose Mourinho.
Mourinho was particularly vocal about the fixture list, feeling Chelsea and Tottenham had been privileged in their midweek fixture compared to other clubs.
Conte hit back as Chelsea look to extend their lead to eight points with a 14th successive Premier League victory.
“I can reply that I didn’t do the fixtures,” Conte said. “I think that’s the simple reply.
“The advantage we have is one more day of rest over Tottenham [since the weekend matches]. That’s the advantage if we want to speak about advantage.
“But for me, the advantages are other things – during a season, different situations can happen when you can have advantages – but, for sure, not this.
“I think they [the rival managers] are angry for our position, not for the fixtures. I’m not disappointed. I think it’s normal. This also happens in Italy. I repeat – it’s always because you stay up [at the top].”
“It’s logical to arrive at this sort of situation when you stay up because, at the start of the season, no one could imagine this,” Conte continued.
“It’s important that we continue in the same way – to think about ourselves and not look at the other teams and other situations.”