Antonio Conte was delighted with the performance of Alvaro Morata as the Spaniard’s hat-trick helped Chelsea to a dominant 4-0 win at Stoke City.
Having been frustrated in a goalless draw with Arsenal last time out in the Premier League, the champions wasted no time in asserting their authority at the bet365 Stadium – Morata opening the scoring inside two minutes before compatriot Pedro got in on the act.
Stoke rallied, but Morata’s late double put the result beyond all doubt, and Conte praised his side’s gritty display.
“It was a good day, a good result for us. Stoke are a really good team and very strong,” said the Italian.
“It was very difficult to win here. Morata played a really good game. A really good performance.
“It’s great he got a hat-trick. Now he has to continue this way to be a great striker.
“We deserved to win the game. We started well and scored early. We were in control of the game. I repeat it’s not simple to win away against them.
“I think we have to be focused at what we do and not others. We want to fight in every competition we are playing.”
Morata’s hat-trick takes the former Real Madrid forward onto six goals from as many Premier League appearances and will serve to stem any lingering doubts over the impact of Diego Costa’s move back to Atletico Madrid.
Chelsea were helped by some uncharacteristic errors from Mark Hughes’ side, however, and the Welshman was quick to point out how much the mistakes cost his team.
“It was a difficult day obviously, we were struggling with personnel beforehand and we ended the day with no senior central defenders available at all,” Hughes told Stoke City+.
“That said, I thought we stuck at it, even though we made the worst possible start by allowing them to score an easy goal so early on from a routine ball over the top.
“You can’t allow yourselves to make too many individual errors in these sort of games, but [Darren] Fletcher allowed the ball to drop a little bit too far away from him and they scored a second which really set us back.”