Antonio Conte
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte hopes to have a fully-fit squad available during the busy festive period PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images

Antonio Conte intends to continue rotating his relatively thin Chelsea squad over the coming weeks in order to ensure his players remain fresh throughout a traditionally frantic festive period.

The defending Premier League champions, currently third in the top-flight following a 1-1 draw at Liverpool, entertain relegation battlers Swansea City at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night (29 November) as they attempt to bridge the 11-point gap to dominant leaders Manchester City.

Chelsea, in stark contrast to last season's title-winning campaign, have experienced plenty of injury problems following their return to European competition, with the likes of Eden Hazard, Alvaro Morata, Victor Moses and N'Golo Kante among the many to have spent time on the sidelines.

Conte is understandably eager to avoid seeing his resources similarly stretched heading towards the January transfer window and is set to make regular changes to cope with a hectic fixture list.

"The most important thing for us is to have all the players available," he said at his pre-Swansea press conference, per football.london. "This is very important because, in this period, it's very busy. It will be very important to make the rotation with the players.

"I think to give the opportunity to my players, it will be very important. Because, in this way, we keep the concentration very high. The players that need to rest, they can do this.

"Don't forget: if you play every game, you stop to train, and the probability of having an injury is very high. Very high. I think it will be very important to create a good balance between games and training."

On resting his best players such as Hazard, he added: "I think that every game you have to try to make the best decision to try and protect every player, every player. For sure, to try to... I'd like to start every game with the best players but, at the same time, this is not possible. Otherwise I don't protect them. I take a risk I think is not right to take."

Conte reiterated his hope that Thibaut Courtois reaches an agreement over an extension to a contract that is due to expire in the summer of 2019, heaping more pressure on Chelsea to retain the services of a goalkeeper whom he believes will become the best in the world, if he is not already.

"I repeat: this is the club's responsibility. But I hope, for the future, Thibaut and the club find an agreement. He's a really important player for us."

When asked how difficult it had been to keep Willian happy as the Brazilian remains a bit-part player despite an impressive run of scoring form, the manager stressed that players should be content to play for Chelsea irrespective of their specific roles.

"I repeat: my players must be happy to stay in Chelsea and to play for Chelsea and to play for our fans. They must be happy. If they start the game, or if they stay on the bench and come on... I think I have clever players to understand the situation and accept the situation.

"Hazard, at the start of the season, accepted the situation to stay on the bench before finding the right form. It's the same for Pedro, for Willy, for other players. When you are in a great team, you have to accept this and, at the same time, you must be happy to stay in a great team."