Christmas is a wonderful time of year. The food, the presents, the days off work. For football fans, it’s even better as the festive season gives us a flurry of matches to whet our appetite and there’s no international break to disrupt the flow until February.
We can imagine footballers feel a bit different about the hectic schedule though, particular those from abroad which aren’t accustomed to the British way of doing things just yet, and one man preparing for his first busy winter in English football is Chelsea boss Antonio Conte.
Conte’s side currently sit top of the Premier League table and are likely to occupy that position over Christmas, which could get the players in the party mood. However, the Italian has warned his players not to party.
Quoted by The Daily Mail, Conte said:
“I must be honest, I’d prefer they stayed at home and celebrated with the family — not a great party,”
“This is a new experience for me and my family. Usually, in the Christmas period, I’m used to having a break, a holiday with my family. Now it’s fantastic to have this new experience, to play during the Christmas period in a new country. In the past, I always watched these games in England on TV. Now, to live this situation, this atmosphere is fantastic.”
Chelsea’s busy festive period gives the Blues some favourable matches as they look to extend their advantage at the top, clashing with Crystal Palace, Bournemouth and Stoke City before travelling to White Hart Lane in early January to face Tottenham Hotspur.
Should they continue their tremendous charge throughout that period, it would certainly take a miracle to ensure the Premier League title did not end up at Stamford Bridge.