Jose Mourinho is relishing Chelsea’s busy fixture list, which sees the Premier League leaders play 12 matches over the next six weeks.
Today’s clash with West Brom marks the first of a dozen fixtures up to and including the trip to Tottenham on New Year’s Day, with Mourinho’s side’s gruelling run including two UEFA Champions League games and a League Cup quarter-final with Derby County.
“I go match by match,” the said in a press conference on Friday. “I know the number of matches we have.
“It’s a different phase [without international breaks], yes, but it doesn’t mean that we can train more. In fact, the number of matches is so high that the days in between is so low, so that doesn’t improve our training programme.
“It will always be about playing, but we know what we have and the good thing is everybody is the same in England.
“Obviously when you go to the second part of the season and some English teams hopefully will be in the Champions League and Europa League, I think these teams are going to pay the consequence of such a different winter compared to other countries, but this is something I love.
“I know it’s difficult for me and especially the players’ bodies but I think it’s a beautiful period so I look forward to this marathon over the Christmas period.”
While most of European football’s top leagues take a mid-season break, the festive period marks the Premier League’s busiest part of the campaign.