Antonio Conte: Chelsea must enjoy 'heavy' week with titles on the line

Vaishali Bhardwaj

Antonio Conte has urged Chelsea to enjoy the next seven days as the club face three huge tests of their title credentials.

Chelsea will face London rivals Tottenham in the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley on Saturday before resuming their charge for the Premier League title with a home game against Southampton next Tuesday.

They then travel to take on an Everton side containing the Premier League's top scorer Romelu Lukaku next Saturday as Chelsea try and avoid losing further ground in the title race, with Spurs just four points behind the Blues in the Premier League standings.

Despite the tricky set of fixtures in the coming seven days, Conte insists Chelsea are "ready" for those games but called on his team to enjoy the upcoming tests of their title credentials nevertheless.

"It’s not a simple situation now for us, because you have to consider that you have to play a semi-final in a great competition and then after two days and a half you have to play against Southampton, and Southampton have rested for 10 days," Conte said on Friday.

"But sometimes it’s very strange to face these types of situation, because I think the FA Cup is a great competition. There is a great tradition for this competition, it’s the oldest competition in the world, and we want to respect this.

"But we are ready, and then also I have to take the best decision, to find the right balance. Don’t forget we have to play [Saturday] Tottenham, Tuesday Southampton and then against Everton. This week is very heavy for us and I think it’s very important for us.

"We have to enjoy this moment because this moment is great for everyone.

"For me, this is my first season [in England], and for my players they worked a lot to arrive at this point in the season and to have this kind of game, the semi-final, and to have these games to win the title.

"I think we have to enjoy this moment, to be compact, to help each other, to live with joy this moment."

When then asked how he had changed his training schedule with games coming thick and fast, Conte replied: "You must have a different approach with your team when you have this games, so close.

"You have to find the right balance and to give the right work. In this case the work is tactical work and not physical work, because you have to play a lot of games in a few days."