Antonio Conte has warned Cesar Azpilicueta he has little chance of breaking his personal record for consecutive appearances amid the need to rotate his squad over the upcoming festive period.
The Spain international’s run of 74 appearances in a row was broken last month when Conte opted to rest his defender for the visit of Swansea.
Azpilicueta has subsequently returned to the Chelsea starting line-up and earlier this week revealed he was intent on reaching another personal milestone.
‘I never thought about the amount of games I played in a row, 90 minutes in all of them,’ he said.
‘I would try to beat that mark, and I’m pleased for the number of games because I know it’s difficult.’
But head of Saturday’s London derby against West Ham, Conte warned the 28-year-old he needs to be protected for his own good.
He said: ‘I think for every player I try to protect every player. When you play every three days, it’s very difficult. Also because it’s impossible to keep your form the best.
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‘If you continue to play, only to play, without training sessions, your form can go up and down. Also the risk for injuries is very high. I’ll try to rotate my players, try to make the best decision.
‘We are not so big, but I think that I’m doing for my players the chance to show me they deserve to play. When I did this I received a good response of all my players.’
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