Antonio Conte highlighted the impact of his three substitutes as well as the commitment shown by all his players as he assessed the late show at Watford today.
In charge of the Blues for the first time away from home, Conte watched on as one sub, Michy Batshuayi, equalised an earlier Watford goal and another, Cesc Fabregas, set up Diego Costa’s winner. That was just one aspect of today’s performance that left the boss very pleased…
‘It was the same against West Ham,’ Conte pointed out.
‘It’s normal because when you push during the game for 70 minutes, usually the opposition pays for their effort.
‘Usually when new players come on during the game it happens that there is a great impact. I’m pleased for Moses, for Cesc, for Batshuayi because their impact was very good. It’s important for me, this. It shows the great spirit of the team, the right attitude, the right commitment.
‘I understand when you don’t start the game usually you aren’t happy. The manager must choose the starting XI and then try to find the right solution during the game. We saw this in these two games.
‘I repeat: I’m happy for the commitment and attitude of the players. It shows a good family, a good team.’
Diego Costa provided the decisive strike once more
‘He has scored two goals but I would prefer him to have scored before the end! Diego is working very hard like the other players. He can improve a lot with work. He is an important player for us. It’s important for him to always stay concentrated on the game and not think about the other situations.
‘Also Batshuayi is a young player with great potential who can improve a lot. They can play together not only during the game but also at the start of the game.’
Fabregas provided the assist with an inch-perfect defence-splitting pass
‘We all know Cesc. He’s a great player with great technique, with a good pass and a good assist.
‘I made this substitution because at that moment I wanted more quality and I saw Watford were thinking only to defend their goal.
‘I am pleased with his attitude. He is working very hard during the training sessions to show me he deserves to play. I want to see this, that all the players show me they deserve to start the game.
‘I am a very happy manager when I see this commitment. When you have many players thinking about the team and not himself, it’s important. This situation is happening at Chelsea.’
Conte urged his players back to the halfway line after Batshuayi’s leveller
‘I didn’t want to celebrate because we were 1-1, not 1-2. For this reason I pushed my players a bit. I saw also in this situation the will to come back very soon and to start to play.
‘The start of the season is important to change the situation compared to last season. We know it’s not easy but we are trying with all our strength.
‘Work always pays off. I know we are very working hard. We will continue to work very hard.
‘Normally these wins are very important to improve, to transfer the work, for our confidence to rise, because after a bad season like last year it’s not easy to start, to win two games. It won’t be easy but I’m pleased it happened.’
Conte also spoke about the need to buy a defender before the transfer window closes
‘If you look now at the Chelsea squad we only have five defenders, and four started the game today. [Ola] Aina is a guy of the Academy, [born in] 96, very good with great potential, but you know with a young player you must work to improve him and put him in the first team.
‘I am sure Aina has a good future, but with the numbers, five defenders, if there is an injury or a ban we are in trouble. The club and I know this, and we are talking every day to improve the squad, but we know the market is very difficult.
‘I don’t want to buy a player only to buy him, I want to buy the right player for Chelsea, for the present and for the future. A good prospect. It’s important we make a good investment.’