Chelsea manager Antonio Conte says the club’s recent preseason tour of Asia has left his players feeling “very tired” ahead of the new season.
Chelsea travelled to both China and Singapore this month for friendlies, but despite first seeing off Arsenal with ease, they then suffered defeats to Bayern Munich and Inter Milan.
Conte’s side next face Arsenal in the Community Shield on Sunday ahead of the start of the new Premier League season and the Chelsea boss says his players still have plenty of work to do.
“Now it is difficult to tell how far off we are,” he is quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror. “We have to continue to work.
“My players are very tired because they played three games in only eight days. With this temperature and humidity, players are always the same and they will be tired.
“It is important to rest and to come back to London and restart work.”
Chelsea’s Community Shield clash with Arsenal is a repeat of last season’s FA Cup final, which the Gunners won to deny Conte’s side the Double.
“It is not a friendly game. It is an official game and there is a trophy so for us it must be important,” Conte said. “Every fixture has its own history and now we have to play another game.
“We lost the final of the FA Cup and it was a pity as we were in a position to win. But Arsenal won. Now this is another story, we must be able to fight and be able to win.”