The absence of European football for Chelsea will give them a slight advantage when they host London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Saturday, manager Mauricio Pochettino has said.
Despite being the only unbeaten team in the league, Tottenham have won only once in their last nine games in all competition, which has led to an early exit from the Champions League and seen them drop to fifth in the table.
In contrast, Chelsea, who finished 10th last campaign, are in fine form, having scored 17 goals and conceding none during their six-game winning streak in the league, which has seen them climb to the top of the table with 28 points after 12 matches.
“I think it is obvious and nobody can be disappointed or upset with my idea,” Pochettino told British media when asked about any potential benefit Chelsea could have gained.
“If you are a big team like Chelsea and you are not involved in European competition or cups, you have one week to prepare for a league game. We were playing on Tuesday and arrived late back in London.
“We cannot have one week to prepare so it is normal that the opponent has an advantage. But that is not an excuse for who wins or loses. We need to be ready because this is the nature of the competition.”
Tottenham will hope to change their fortunes at Stamford Bridge, having not won at the ground since 1990, when they face Chelsea on Saturday.