Antonio Conte says small Chelsea squad is struggling to cope with increased demands ahead of Roma Champions League clash

Joe Hall
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Conte: My players are playing too many games (Source: Getty)

Antonio Conte is ready to unleash Alvaro Morata in Chelsea's Champions League clash against Roma tomorrow night, but has warned his squad is struggling to cope with a busy fixture list.

Morata missed Chelsea's shock 2-1 defeat at Crystal Palace on Saturday, while N'Golo Kante, Victor Moses and Danny Drinkwater have all been ruled for Roma's visit to Stamford Bridge due to injuries.

Conte, whose side benefited from having no European duties to contend with last season as they romped to the Premier League title, said many of his squad are not used to the increased demands being placed upon them this campaign.

Read more: Chelsea may not be competitive in the Champions League this season, warns Conte

"When there are injuries of this type it's very difficult," said the Italian, referring to hamstring issues that have plagued Morata, Kante and Moses.

"The problem is that the same players are always playing. We have players that are not used to playing three [games] in a row. For Kante and Moses, it's the first time. For Morata, it's the first time regularly.

"When you have a lot of games you need to protect players. If this isn't possible I have to take a risk."

Chelsea are currently top of their group having won their opening two games against Qarabag and Atletico Madrid, while Roma sit one place behind them with a win and a draw against the same opponents.

Conte, who has been linked with the manager's role in the past, reserved plenty of praise for the club and in particular captain Daniele De Rossi who he worked with while in charge of Italy.

"Roma is a top team," said Conte. "I was extremely proud to have seen my name there. A great team, great players, a great city.

"I have a great appreciation for De Rossi and I get goosebumps from the great journey we had in the national team."

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