It wasn’t as goal-laden or free-flowing a performance as some of our recent wins but that didn’t leave Antonio Conte any less satisfied after Middlesbrough were narrowly beaten on Teesside.
The manner of our sixth straight league success was a source of great satisfaction for Conte, who also spoke about scorer Diego Costa after the game. First up, though, was his assessment of the 1-0 victory…
‘I’m pleased because we won a game in a different way if you compare it to our past five games,’ Conte explained.
‘We won only 1-0 against a strong team with good organisation. At the moment we had to suffer, we suffered, but we never lost our compactness. It’s very good.
‘We created chances to score the second goal, and it’s important to score the second goal and kill the game, because anything can happen until the end in this league, and above all today. When you are winning only 1-0 you have to pay attention until the end, because Middlesbrough could have got a draw, like against City.
‘Middlesbrough played a good game with good organisation. They put their best on the pitch, but in this period it’s very difficult to play against Chelsea.
‘This game gives us confidence and increases our trust in what we are doing,’ Conte continued.
‘Now it’s important to think about the next game against Tottenham, a tough game, a massive game. Middlesbrough is now the past for us.’
Diego Costa has scored in six of our past seven away games
‘Diego is always important. He is the point of reference in our attack, and together with Eden and Pedro, they played a good game today.
‘Diego is impressing with the way he is finding ways to score goals. It’s important to continue in this way because we need his goals, Eden’s goals, Willian’s goals, Pedro’s goals…
‘In the past, people asked me about his behaviour, his reaction, his passion, and now he’s one of the best strikers in the world. He has to continue in this way. He is showing his passion in the right way.
‘He is very focused on helping the team with and without the ball, and he is scoring goals.’
The outstanding form continues and Conte considered our winning streak in relation to the bigger picture
‘After two defeats against Liverpool and Arsenal, for sure it wasn’t simple to believe we would have six wins in a row, above all without conceding any goals. This league is very difficult to have success in and to win six games in a row is fantastic.
‘A month-and-a-half ago, after two defeats, Chelsea wasn’t a favourite or a team that can fight for the title until the end. Now it’s very difficult to change our opinion completely. It’s hard to say our target now. I want to wait until the second half of the season.
‘But I know, and the players and our fans know, that Chelsea might fight until the end for something.’