Antonio Conte has hit back at Mikel Arteta’s concerns over a Premier League match-up.
The Arsenal head coach has spoken out about the series of games the Gunners will face in the coming weeks, saying sarcastically ‘thank you Premier League’.
Boos from the Gunners have also expressed concern over when the North London derby between Tottenham and Arsenal will take place.
Arteta’s side were due to travel to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on January 16 but a series of positive COVID tests saw the game postponed.
With no new date yet set, the Spaniard believes the way the fixture list is building up is “not fair”, something his counterpart Conte objected to.
Interrupting a question about Arteta’s comments, Conte said: “I just want Arteta to remember the postponed game. Tottenham – Arsenal how are you? If we talk about unfair. I stop.
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“In general, I think my answer is sufficient. Well, yes, that’s enough. If someone wants to talk about fair or unfair. We postponed the match, Tottenham-Arsenal, if you remember. I do not.
“I don’t forget that, and I think it’s not fair to talk about fair or unfair.”
Arteta’s comments also included criticism that his side were set to face Aston Villa on Saturday lunchtime after facing Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night.
He explained: “I’ve heard comments about when you’re in Europe, it’s nothing new, it’s nothing new to me, but I’m not talking about Europe, I’m talking about of the Premier League and how we schedule games in the Premier League.
“The first thing is to protect the players and we have mentioned this many times, please can we avoid Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings and travel?”
But while Villa boss Steven Gerrard was respectful in his response to Arteta, he was keen to stress that a heavy fixture list was nothing new.
Gerrard explained: “You have to respect what each manager says in their own position.
“They obviously had a tough week, but you’re talking to someone who’s been at Rangers and played over 60 games.
“Sky or BT Sport, whoever it is, puts you at times that suit them and you have to go on and accept that.
“Every manager can only speak and have an opinion on his own situation, but I think it will only get worse for him if he qualifies for Europe because the games will be even thicker and even faster. That’s how it is at this level.”
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