Antonio Conte was proud of how his players responded to recent criticism and returned to goalscoring form during today’s big win at Brighton.
The Blues burst the dam on the South Coast with four goals of the highest quality. Eden Hazard got two of them and was supported in that regard by Willian and Victor Moses.
Conte was also quick to remind his players that they shouldn’t dwell on today’s result with another big test around the corner, at Arsenal on Wednesday. First, though, he assessed his team’s performance…
‘A good game and a good result for us,’ Conte said. ‘In the last period we didn’t score a lot, and instead today we scored four goals and created other chances to improve the final result.
‘We kept another clean sheet which is very important for us, despite Brighton creating chances to score.
‘Before the game, a lot of people had a lot of worry about our suspensions and injuries. Instead during the game, we showed great personality to be a team.
‘We started the game very well, we scored twice quickly with good combinations between our strikers. We must be happy for this.
‘At the same time, from tomorrow, every single player who scored today has to forget about that, and try to score again against Arsenal. This is the most important thing: to be happy for today’s performance, but from tomorrow to start to think about another important game.’
Conte pointed out how long it has been since our last defeat, and queried recent media doubts about his team
‘Whoever said that has to pay great attention to the stats. We are unbeaten in 12 games. A lot of the time the press tries to see the negative aspect, and not the positive aspect. This team, with many problems, are unbeaten in 12 games in all competitions. This means we are doing important work.
‘To win in this way, despite not having five important players, means every player deserves to have a chance and every player has to fight to play.
‘Now we have to continue in this way. I am pleased with my players’ response today. You could see on our bench there was Charly Musonda, and Ampadu, and Sterling. These are the present and the future of Chelsea. The club asks me to improve the young players, and I am doing this. Christensen is only 21 years old and he is playing every game. We are doing an important job for this club.
‘Every player today showed great responsibility, and felt the responsibility. To grow in this aspect is very important for us.’
Conte also explained Andreas Christensen’s injury. The Chelsea medical team followed all the concussion protocols to the letter, and were satisfied he showed no symptoms of concussion, and treated him for a contusion. He will train as usual tomorrow
‘Andreas had a contusion. The player didn’t want to come off, but at the same time when you have a player like David Luiz on the bench, it was simple for me. Also because the referee tried to force this substitution. It was a simple contusion, the player is okay and he is ready for tomorrow’s training session.’
Conte commented on penalty appeals after Brighton had two rejected in the first half
‘In England, for a penalty to be whistled is not simple. You can see what happened in the last game against Norwich, it’s the same. In this league there is this type of situation for both teams. I didn’t see these two situations so I can’t give an evaluation.’
The boss also revealed why Danny Drinkwater was not involved today
‘Danny Drinkwater had a kick in his ankle in the game against Norwich. He hasn’t been so lucky this season. He has had many problems from the start of the season and I hope he recovers very quickly.’