Manchester United cannot use Europa League as an excuse if they lose to us, warns Chelsea boss Antonio Conte

Antonio Conte has told Manchester United they cannot blame their Europa League exertions if they lose at Stamford Bridge on Monday.

Jose Mourinho’s side travelled over 4,000 miles to draw with Russian side FC Rostov on Thursday night. By contrast, Premier League leaders Chelsea have had a week to prepare for the FA Cup clash since last Monday night’s win across London at West Ham.

But the former Italy coach insisted the Reds will still be able to send out their strongest side – and have enough time to prepare.

“There are four days to recover, and this game is an important game for us, for them,” he said. “I think their formation will be very good. Also because United and City have the best squads in this league.”

Mourinho faces the press after drawing 1-1 with FC Rostov

“We could have played on Sunday, or Saturday, if the federation (FA) decided it. But we are playing on Monday. I think that the federation showed great respect for Manchester United to play the last day available in the FA Cup.”

Conte said he had given no promises to his squad players, including John Terry, who had appeared in previous rounds and hinted he will play his strongest team as they chase the doube.

“I don’t see the necessity to rest people,” he added. “Also because, I repeat, United will do the same against us.

“I didn’t promise anything. No. I didn’t promise anything in the FA Cup. Nothing. I didn’t promise nothing to anyone.”

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