News Live Scores
FA Cup

Conte flummoxed by Chelsea schedule

00:46 GMT+3 23/04/2017
AntonioConte - cropped
The Blues boss thinks his side's short turnaround may hinder their title chances

Antonio Conte does not feel Chelsea's 4-2 FA Cup semi-final victory over Tottenham will hinder their rivals in the Premier League title race because this week's fixture schedule puts his men at a disadvantage.

A second half-strike from Eden Hazard and a stunning long-range effort from Nemanja Matic sealed victory for Chelsea after Harry Kane and Dele Alli pegged back Willian goals from a free-kick and the penalty spot respectively.

Spurs made life as uncomfortable for the Blues on the Wembley turf during a pulsating contest as they have with their domestic chase over recent weeks.

Hazard proves he's still the best in England

Mauricio Pochettino's side are four points behind Chelsea with six games to play and both teams are in midweek action as Southampton visit Stamford Bridge on Tuesday and Spurs travel to Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

This is a clearly unsatisfactory state of affairs for Conte, who explained his decision to leave Hazard and Diego Costa on the bench was informed by Tottenham having an extra day of rest before tackling a Palace side in action on Sunday at Liverpool.

Claude Puel's Southampton should be comparatively refreshed 10 days on from their 3-0 defeat at home to Manchester City.

"I told you it is 50/50 because I think this," Conte told a post-match news conference when asked about the state of play in the title race.

"In this week they have an advantage – we have to play after two days and a half; they have to play against Crystal Palace and Crystal Palace have to play Sunday. Tottenham have one more day to rest.

"We have to play in two days and a half against a team who can rest for 10 days. This is a very crucial moment for us. Sometimes it is very difficult to accept this dynamic of the officials but we have to accept it."

Conte was visibly irked by a topic he returned to for a third and final time at the end of his briefing, having been asked about the Manchester derby being unusually scheduled this Thursday in light of City and United being in action on Sunday.

Final step remains beyond brittle Spurs

"In this situation it is not easy to understand why," he added. "In this part of the season, at the end of the season, you must try to have balance to try to understand the situation and put both teams in the same condition to fight.

"But I repeat, we have to accept this decision and then have the best answer on the pitch. But it is not easy to accept this."