Chelsea face two Premier League matches in five days which could enhance their title chances, but Antonio Conte is thinking only of Tuesday night’s trip to Liverpool.
The Blues lost consecutive Premier League games to Liverpool and Arsenal in September, but have won 17 of 19 games in all competitions since and top the table by eight points.
While Liverpool made nine changes and exited the FA Cup on Saturday, Conte made the same wholesale switches as Chelsea beat Brentford 4-0 for a 10th successive home win. Arsenal will aim to end that Stamford Bridge run next Saturday.
“This week is very important,” Conte told Chelsea TV.
“We’ll have two tough games against two teams that for me can fight to win the title.
“It’s important to prepare in the right way and to think game by game.
“Now it’s important to think against Liverpool, to have a good performance and to try to have a good result.
“Then we’ll think about Arsenal.”
Chelsea have long harboured hopes of developing young talent to consistently perform in the first team and often been criticised for failing to do so.
And Conte was pleased with his squad players’ performances as Chelsea reached the fifth round.
But the Italian stressed the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Nathan Ake and Kenedy, who is now committed to Chelsea for the rest of the season having already played on loan at Watford, must prove they deserve to play.
“I think that our young players are growing and for the club, for me, it’s very important,” Conte added.
“In this season we haven’t Champions League or Europa League. We have only the league now and the FA Cup.
“FA Cup is a good opportunity to see these young players, the improvement in these young players.
“Young players for me, for the club are very important. If they deserve to play, I’m ready to put them in the team, in the squad.
“I’m not scared of the young players. The only thing I must ask is they must be ready to play.”