Cesc Fabregas admits Chelsea are having issues dealing with their schedule
Midfielder Cesc Fabregas says Chelsea players are not unhappy with the training regime of manager Antonio Conte, but are finding the hectic domestic and Champions League schedule challenging.
The Blues impressed last season as they built towards the Premier League title, but have not been able to replicate that consistency while juggling a return to elite European competition.
Chelsea were beaten 3-0 away to Roma on Tuesday night and host Manchester United, and former manager Jose Mourinho, on Sunday.
Reports of unrest within the Blues squad over the methods of the Italian coach, who took over in July 2016, have been angrily rebuffed by Conte himself.
In an interview with Gary Lineker on the Premier League Show for BBC Two, Fabregas was asked if the players were indeed unhappy because they were being asked to train too hard in a regimented fashion.
The midfielder replied: "No, no, not at all.
"The only thing we can say is last year there was no Champions League, and it is a real truth.
"We know, you know and I know that it is tough when you are involved in the Champions League.
"When you have the whole week to train, his (Conte's) methods and the fitness coach, it is a very Italian mentality - we have to run and be fit and recover well.
"But this year because of the Champions League we are not having that much time because every three days... you cannot play on the Wednesday, play Saturday and then it is Thursday - and what? You are going to run? It is impossible.
"To do recovery, you need to be well back for the weekend, so that is not true at all."
During the wide-ranging interview, Fabregas revealed the way in which Chelsea' Premier League title defence had unravelled two seasons ago - which ultimately saw Mourinho depart from Stamford Bridge for a second time in December 2015 - continues to play on his mind.
"It was such a shame. You go to bed sometimes and think about many things, sometimes you cannot sleep.... and sometimes, still it bothers me," the Spaniard said.
"I could see from the outside, as a fan, I could think myself like 'these guys are not even trying.. they just forgot to play football'
"You felt that those six months, we were not close to what we really were just a year or less before.
"(But) it happened, and we felt bad for it."