Antonio Conte has spent the first part of this weekend talking up the importance of Wednesday’s game against Qarabag in Azerbaijan, but as he revealed in his post-match press conference, that was hardly the only thing on his mind during this most busy week at Chelsea Football Club.
“We have to work during the flight [back to London] to prepare for the game, but to be honest we started [preparing] with my staff before tonight so as not to wait until at the last moment.”
Despite not adhering to the cliche of “one game at a time” — Hazard was talking about Liverpool not 10 minutes after the game ended, too, so it’s been on everyone’s minds — Chelsea produced yet another 4-0 win (two-for-two for Conte’s beard!), one that pleased the head coach as well.
“Tonight was very positive. I knew very well this type of game would not be easy. Don’t forget Atletico are in trouble because they drew twice against Qarabag.
“We must be pleased that we reached our first target: going through to the next round of the Champions League, and avoiding the Atletico game being decisive for us. It’s a good chance to do more rotation with my players. Tonight I did many rotations and to see every single player answer very well is great for me.”
Conte also made sure to thank the fans who made the long — and judging by some Twitter accounts, not easy nor impressive — trek to Baku to voice their support among the raucous (at least for most of the game) 70,000 attending in total.
“It’s also right to thank our fans because they had a long travel to follow their team. It means they have a big heart and they deserve great satisfaction.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC
Wasting no time, Chelsea are back on the plane and heading home. Kick-off against Liverpool at Anfield in less than 72 hours.