Conference Call: Solid and strong

Antonio Conte watched his side bring the curtain down on 2017 in a similar way to how we ended the previous year – with a home victory against Stoke City.

On this occasion it was far more comfortable, with the Blues running out 5-0 winners courtesy of goals from Toni Rudiger, Danny Drinkwater, Pedro, Willian and Davide Zappacosta.

It was our biggest Premier League win of the season, as well as a fourth consecutive clean sheet, and Conte was very pleased.

‘I think our performance was very positive, we started the game very well with great desire to score early because, as I’ve said before, in this type of game if you score early it can become easier because your opponent has to change their plan.

‘We started very well and we wanted that. I’m very pleased with the performance of all my players and to finish with another clean sheet. We are showing good solidity. 

‘We have to continue to work very hard to improve but to finish this year in this way is great for me, the club and the fans. It was a fantastic year for us because to win the title in England is not simple. To be able to do this with your first chance, I will remember this year forever.’

Drinkwater, Pedro and Willian were all brought into the side, and all three players scored

‘I’m very happy because today I had a good response from all of my players. I made rotation and when you have this kind of response you must be pleased and know you are working well with the players who play regularly and those who don’t.’

Conte was asked about Alvaro Morata, who was denied a goal by a couple of brilliant Jack Butland saves

‘It was a pity because for strikers it’s always very important to score, but I’m more worried when our striker doesn’t have opportunities or chances. In this case Alvaro did well to stay in the right place. In the away game against Stoke he scored a hat-trick, but it’s very important for me to see my players having the chance to score.’

He also spoke about our the top of the Premier League table in general

‘We know we have to face five months which will be very tough because we have to fight for a place in the Champions League and it won’t be easy to reach this target. Man City have created a big gap between themselves and the other teams. I don’t know what will happen but we have to try to get three points in every game, to put some pressure on the teams above us.’

CONTE: In this type of game it's important to score early

News 30/12/2017