Conte also renewed his call for a winter break in England with today’s game being the first of seven in 21 days for his reigning champions.
“I think that it’s right to play during the Christmas period but, at the same time, after the Christmas period you must have a break,” he said.
“Because I think you have to try to put every team in the best situation to be competitive in all competitions. Then in February, when the Champions League restarts, you arrive very tired.
“When you play 25 games in two-and-a-half months it’s not simple.
“You spend a lot of energy, to prepare analysis videos, to prepare tactical work, to prepare your team to play in a different system with different opponents.
“If we think you only play, you don’t have great difficulty. But when there is work behind the game, preparing for the game – and for sure you have to work very hard, me and my staff, to work, work, work very hard.”