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Conte counting on magnitude of occasion to help Chelsea players recover for Manchester City

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Atletico Madrid v Chelsea FC - UEFA Champions League Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

In the last game of a frantic 7-games-in-21-days schedule in September — set to repeat starting on a couple weeks in October, too! — Chelsea will face title-rivals Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Sitting top of the table ahead of Manchester United on goal difference, City are yet to be beaten this season and have only dropped two out of a possible 18 points.

However, Chelsea are also in good form in in good confidence, especially after a universally regarded and appreciated performance against Atlético Madrid on Wednesday. And while the short recovery is not ideal — a situation faced by many English teams in Europe thanks to the FA’s (and the TV companies’) insistence of putting profits ahead of fitness common sense — Antonio Conte is hoping to ride the wave of momentum into and through these final 90 minutes before the international break.

"This is the last game of seven games in 21 days. As you know very well Man City is a really good team, but last season was the same. This season they improved a lot with good signings. They started very well, they are in a great moment and they have a lot of confidence. For sure we have to pay great attention. We have only prepared the game in one day, today, and we have tried to prepare for it in the right way.”

“It will not be easy to make decisions tomorrow. In my eyes is the last performance against Atlético Madrid. Every single player performed very well in this game. I have to check the physical condition of every single player and then make the best decision."

"To play a massive game helps you recover very well and quickly, because every single player wants to play, and also because this game is only two days after the last game. We are ready for this massive game. We are excited to play."

"Winning against Atlético Madrid increases our confidence. It makes you stronger. Now it is important to be focused on the next game. We are playing at home, for sure our fans will try to push us from the start until the end. Tomorrow their support will be very important."

In regards to fitness issues, only midfielder Danny Drinkwater will be out of contention due to injury.

Another played who will not be available for the City clash is David Luiz, who will serve the last game of his suspension for the red card against Arsenal. In his absence, Conte will once again turn to young Andreas Christensen, who even played in that role for the final few minutes on Wednesday despite David Luiz himself being on the pitch!

But all eyes will be on Eden Hazard, who put in one of his best performances in a Chelsea shirt — certainly on a European night — against Simeone’s defensive stalwart. Now we hope the immediate sequel to that Man of the Match showing will be just as good.

"Last season [Eden] had an important season, he played very well, he performed like a top player. Now we managed his recovery very well. We respected the right time before giving him the responsibility to play a big game from the start."

"If he was able to play one game like the last game against Atlético Madrid, it means he is ready now to play with continuity. Then, I have to try to make the best decision for the team, not only a single player."

-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC

As on Wednesday, if Chelsea can play with the right amount of commitment, intensity, and determination, we should be able to head into the break on a positive note.

Forza!