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

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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte says his side can not afford to make mistakes in Wednesday's Champions League fixture against minnows Qarabag.

The Italian manger has overcome what he calls early-season difficulties to have Chelsea third in the Premier League and close to qualification out of the group stages of the Champions League.

Conte has urged his side to get the job done in Azerbaijan and avoid the tension of battling for progression during a busy schedule that sees the London outfit play 11 matches before the end of the year after Wednesday's fixture.

"On Saturday we are going to play another tough game against Liverpool".

"If we are able to win against Qarabag, then we can go through to the next round of the Champions League".

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.

Chelsea this week are embarking on their longest Champions League journey - it is nearly 2,500 miles (4000 kilometres) between London and Baku, further than the November 2015 trip to Israel - before facing Liverpool in the Premier League on Saturday.

The Blues expect to return to London at around 4am on Thursday.

"[The people] who prepare the fixtures for the league must pay great attention, because it is hard to ask if we can catch Manchester City if we are in this situation". Against Roma, together we didn't show this.

"[N'Golo] Kante is recovering good form and you know very well the importance of these players for us. Me first. I always put myself before the players, to take responsibility". Eden and Morata showed a great link, but also with the ball we have another player with great creativity in Cesc Fabregas.

Although Chelsea can seal their knockout berth with a win, Conte is likely to make changes for trhe game at the Baku National Stadium after declaring that it is "normal to have rotation" when playing matches every few days.



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