herald

Friday 2 December 2016

Conte aims to kick on with resurgent Chelsea

Chelsea’s Diego Costa
Chelsea’s Diego Costa

Antonio Conte praised Chelsea's team ethic after they overcame a sluggish first half to end a run of two straight Premier League defeats against Hull at the KCOM Stadium.

A delicious curling effort from Willian just past the hour mark set the Blues on their way to victory before Diego Costa's powerful strike six minutes later sealed the visitors' 2-0 triumph. Conte had reacted to last week's 3-0 loss at Arsenal by dropping Branislav Ivanovic and switching to a three-man defence, and he was ultimately rewarded with a second clean sheet of the season.

Conte said: "We finished with a clean sheet and in this period it is not normal for us after conceding three goals and two goals, so it is very important for the confidence.

"It was a big change in the tactical aspect but we feel we must find the right solution to be more compact. "We must trust in the world we are doing and it is important to understand we must play this way."

Conte's tactical switch appeared a distinct gamble in the opening stages with David Luiz looking vulnerable at the back and giving away an early free-kick from which Robert Snodgrass almost opened the scoring.

Ryan Mason forced another save out of Thibaut Courtois at the end of a first period in which Chelsea failed to muster a single shot on target - but Costa's influence transformed his side in the second half.

Conte added: "It is fantastic for us that he has now got six goals but I think that Diego has the opportunity to score in every game.

"It's important for him not only to score but he is working for the team and for me at the moment this is the most important thing."

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