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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 September 2018

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte 'surprised' by scheduling of Man City clash just three days after toppling Atletico Madrid

"Honestly, in this case we are a bit penalised," Italian says of timing of City match after Michy Batshuayi's injury-time goal secures 2-1 win in Champions League

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has questioned the scheduling of the side's Premier League match against Manchester City on Saturday, saying his players may not have enough time to recover from their Uefa Champions League win at Atletico Madrid.

A goal from substitute Michy Batshuayi secured a 2-1 injury time victory over Atletico at the Wanda Metropolitano on Wednesday, putting Chelsea top of Group C with two wins from two following the 6-0 thrashing of Azerbaijani champions Qarabag earlier this month.

But instead of basking in Chelsea's win, Conte instead chose to focus on his team's congested fixture list, saying the game against City should be delayed 24 hours.

The Italian feels the Premier League champions are at a disadvantage ahead of their crucial encounter with table-topping City, who had an extra day's rest after their 2-0 home win over Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday.

"Honestly, in this case we are a bit penalised and I think it's very important before taking a decision like this to analyse the different situations of the teams," Conte told reporters.

"Don't forget, Manchester City played yesterday at home. We played tonight, away. For sure, we will return to London around 4am. To have only one day to prepare for this type of game is not right.

"Above all because, now, it's an international break. Honestly, I'm very surprised to see that this game we have to play on Saturday, not on Sunday."

Chelsea beat City three times last season with league victories at the Etihad Stadium and Stamford Bridge as well as a 5-1 win in the FA Cup fifth round. Conte said he would make a late call on the fitness levels of several players ahead of the encounter in West London though.

"Maybe I'll wait until the end, one or two hours before we play. I need to speak to my players to understand very well their physical condition," he added.

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City midfielder Ilkay Guendogan, meanwhile, expects his team's title credentials to be thoroughly tested at Stamford Bridge.

"It's a huge game and it's away, so it's even more difficult, but we feel ready," the 26-year-old Germany international said.

"If you ask the manager, there is always something to improve but we know that we are a great team, we have great players and it's just up to us to prove that every fourth day."

Pep Guardiola's City side top the table ahead of Manchester United on goals scored, with his squad having found the net 22 times in their six Premier League games conceding just three.

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