Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte says his players are operating at “70% less this season” because of their heavy playing schedule.
The defending champions struggled in their last two Premier League games, losing to Crystal Palace and Manchester City, and were held to a 3-3 draw with Roma in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Conte claims his side have underperformed and struggled to cope with the loss of big players like Diego Costa, Nemanja Matic and John Terry.
Ahead of Saturday lunchtime’s clash at home to Watford, the Italian said: “We lost a lot of big players who had a great history with the club. We changed five players and are trying to repeat something important.
“We are working 70% less this season. We are playing every two days, it’s impossible and we are paying for this.
“When you play every three days it’s impossible to work on the tactical aspect and physical aspect.
“I think we are paying less attention in every detail.
“After two defeats and a draw, I’m happy for the commitment of my players but about the last result (against Roma) no coach can be happy.
“After two defeats in the league, we want to come back and win.
“It can happen, we play a tough game after only two days and we played (Crystal) Palace after the international break.
“Our priority is to be focused and go game by game. Every opponent can be dangerous.
“It is a problem to play every game with the same players so it is impossible for these players to work – the game is not training.”
Despite Chelsea’s problems with injuries, and not being able to rest players, Conte is refusing to change his tactics or the roles of his players in the team.
He said: “I’m not happy to change the roles of my players. You must adapt and be ready to pay for this.
Chelsea have three winnable games before playing at Roma on October 31 and at home to United in the Premier League on November 5.
Watford’s visit is followed by Everton’s in the Carabao Cup fourth round and the trip to Bournemouth.
Conte is taking nothing for granted, saying: “Every opponent can be dangerous.”
Midfielders N’Golo Kante (hamstring), Danny Drinkwater (calf) and right wing-back Victor Moses (hamstring) are out against Watford, while David Luiz (calf) and Tiemoue Bakayoko (groin) picked up knocks against Roma and could be absent.
But, there was some positive news on Kante from the Italian.
“I hope to have him back very soon, before the international break,” he added.
“If Kante is available before Roma, Manchester United, I will be very happy.”