Conference Call: Continuity and confidence

Antonio Conte felt we played with control during this evening’s win at Bournemouth and that meant the final outcome was a deserved one.

The boss saw Eden Hazard fire in the only goal of the game early in the second half to cap a fine individual display, and at the other end a solid collective defensive performance earned us a first clean sheet since our last away victory, at Stoke five weeks ago.

Only the fact we didn’t find the net more than once concerned Conte, who was ultimately proud of the manner in which his players secured a third win in a week…

‘I saw a lot of positive things tonight,’ Conte said. ‘We played a good game for sure. Good football. I must be pleased for this game and the performance. We played very well for a big part of the game, with maturity, with good possession, and we tried to find the right ball between the lines or to switch the play.

‘We created many chances to score. In the first half we could have been more clinical. In this type of game, you must be able to kill the game. Instead, if you keep the result in balance, you risk at the end a draw, but we deserved to win. It’s a good win for our confidence, a good win before another tough game against Roma in the Champions League.

‘A win was very important to give continuity to the win against Watford, and Everton in the Carabao Cup, and now to prepare in the best way possible way for Roma.

‘Last season we won 3-1 here but we played better than last season. We controlled the game. Last season we conceded more during the game, and were lucky in a part of the game.’

The result moves us into fourth place in the table with 10 games now played

‘This group are very honest. They are players who want to fight for something important. If we are able to do this, I don’t know, but for sure we have a great will to overcome the difficulty and try to stay there. In England, in this league, there are six top teams. Four go in the Champions League, and two have to stay out of the Champions League and play the Europa League.

‘It’s a good win, also because the other top teams all won, apart from Tottenham. At this moment we must be realistic and go game by game. We have 19 points and we deserve to have 19 points.’

Alvaro Morata set up the winning goal for Hazard and even though he didn’t score Conte was pleased with the striker’s output

‘I am happy for his commitment, his desire and his will to fight. For sure he can do better but don’t forget Morata is recovering from a muscular problem. When you have this type of problem you need a bit of time to come back in the best physical condition. I‘m very happy with his performance, a lot of the time he recovered a very important ball in transition.’

Conte was also asked if N’Golo Kante could be back for the trip to Italy

‘I hope so. He could be ready. I know very well the importance of this player. I want to be sure he is ready. I hope to have him in this game, but I prefer to not take this type of risk. If he is ready, he plays.’