Antonio Conte reflected on another successful away day following Saturday’s win at Leicester.
Goals either side of half-time from Alvaro Morata and N’Golo Kante had set us up for a third straight win before Jamie Vardy’s penalty pulled one back for the home side, ensuring a nervy finale in the East Midlands. We held on though to maintain a perfect away record and move up the early league table, leaving Conte pleased with his side’s afternoon.
Inevitably, he was asked first about Alvaro Morata, who notched his third headed goal of the season after strikes against Burnley and Everton...
‘It’s a good day for the team, it’s a good day for Alvaro. It’s always important for a striker to score but for me it’s very important to see he is improving and he is more involved in our football. That’s the most important thing. If he scores I am very happy and I am pleased for the player.’
Conte also faced questions on his other goalscorer, N’Golo Kante, and his central midfield partner Tiemoue Bakayoko, who turned in an impressive display…
‘N’Golo, I think he played an amazing game. We are used to seeing this and he’s a fantastic player. It is incredible to see. He made good runs with quality and he is improving a lot his passes and finishing. I think he is very important to see this player is improving step by step and improving his weaknesses. Now, N’Golo is a really top player.
‘I think Baka is improving his physical condition. Also, he is starting to understand and adapt to our style of football. He has to improve with the ball because without the ball he is very strong. He is a young player and has good signs for us. He has a lot of space to improve, like N’Golo, and now he has to improve with the ball. You can see N’Golo is improving a lot, if you compare him to last season, and we want to work and improve Baka.’
There was more good news with the return of Eden Hazard from injury. The Belgian came off the bench to make his 250th Chelsea appearance and Conte was pleased to be able to call upon the No10…
‘This is good news for us. For sure he needs time to be 100 per cent but for us his recovery is very important. We all know very well the importance of this player for us. Now we must have patience to give him the possibility to improve his form, but I am pleased for him because after a bad injury it’s great to see him with us.’
Finally, Conte was asked if he felt the Blues had turned a corner after our tough start to the season…
‘I think for us it is very important to follow a way. This way is to work. Despite our bad start against Burnley, a bit of difficulty, I think to win three in a row is important for the players. We are doing very well.
‘I have great players, my players are reliable and I trust them. I think the mentality today was very strong, very positive, very good, until the penalty. I think we were in total control of the game, scored the first goal, the second goal. We conceded to a counter-attack when we lost the ball for the penalty, and after they tried to put some pressure on, but we created many chances to improve the scoreline.
‘We must be satisfied but I repeat, now we are trying to involve new players with the older players and this is a process. We need time. In football there is not a lot of time but we are working very hard.’
During the press conference Antonio Conte was asked about certain sections of the travelling support singing a song for Alvaro Morata containing anti-Semitic content.
A club spokesman said: ‘The club and the players appreciate the fans’ passionate support away from home, of course, but the language in that song is not acceptable at all. We’ve spoken to Alvaro after the game. He does not want to be connected with that song in any way and both the player and the club request that the supporters stop singing that song with immediate effect.'