Antonio Conte was left to reflect on a disappointing night for the Blues as we were beaten 2-1 by West Ham United in the EFL Cup, but the Italian was pleased with our overall performance.
After we’d started brightly it was the Hammers who took the lead when Cheikhou Kouyate’s glancing header beat Asmir Begovic. There were chances at both ends in the first half but soon after the break West Ham doubled their lead through Edimilson Fernandes.
The introduction of Diego Costa and Eden Hazard midway through the second half had a positive impact, with both players going close as we searched for a way back into the game, but although Gary Cahill reduced the deficit right at the death with a close-range effort it arrived too late to prove significant.
‘The performance was good because we knew they would play a strong game, but I think we played with a good intensity and created many chances to score a goal,’ said Conte. ‘I saw a good spirit in my players because until the end they tried to change the result. Tonight we were a bit unlucky.’
He introduced Eden Hazard, Diego Costa and Pedro after the break
'I think we didn’t expect the second goal so early and that changed our plan. Then we tried to change the situation by putting on fresh players. We created many chances to score and only did it at the end of the match.'
Youngsters Ola Aina and Nathaniel Chalobah were named in the starting line-up
‘I prefer to speak always about the whole team but I think this cup is very important to check the development of these young players. We have good young players and they need to play. I think the youngsters played a good game with the right intensity and concentration. When you lose it’s normal to see bad things but tonight I found a lot of positives.
‘Usually you learn more after a defeat than a win but we must continue to work. I’m optimistic because I saw the right spirit and that’s very important. You can lose or win but you must have the right spirit. If I see that, I see a clear future.
‘Tomorrow we start to work for Sunday’s game. We know we will play a very tough game against Southampton, who are in a good moment.’
Conte was asked to comment following reports of crowd trouble
‘I must be honest because I didn’t see it, we were playing. I don’t like this type of situation because it’s important to always see the right atmosphere. In England we are used to seeing that and it’s right to maintain that. I’m sorry about this situation.’
A Chelsea spokesman said:
‘The club is extremely disappointed to see disturbances at the end of tonight's game and we condemn such behaviour.
‘It would be inappropriate to comment further until tonight's incidents have been investigated properly.’
You can watch a video of Conte speaking to Chelsea TV after the game below, subject to Fan Club membership.