Antonio Conte watched his side maintain our impressive recent form with a 2-0 win over Brighton at the Bridge courtesy of second-half headers from Alvaro Morata and Marcos Alonso.
It’s a result which moves us to within one point of second-placed Manchester United, who drew against Burnley this afternoon. The Blues have now lost just once in our last 12 Premier League matches and we have kept three consecutive clean sheets in the league.
Having taken control of the game thanks to those two goals shortly after half-time, Conte was able to take Eden Hazard, Morata and N’Golo Kante off for the closing stages, and the Italian was pleased that, unlike against Everton on Saturday, we were able to capitalise on our dominance.
‘It was a good performance, I saw the stats and today we shot 25 times, eight on target, we had 13 corners and a lot of possession,’ said Conte. ‘We dominated the game, like against Everton, but the difference today was we scored twice. We had many chances to improve the final result but I think I saw good intensity and great commitment from my players. We wanted to win and it’s very important to start the second part of the season with a win. We are doing a good job and we have to continue in this way.’
Conte said motivation remains high in every game despite Manchester City’s lead at the top of the table
‘I think in this league there is great motivation for all to try to stay there and fight until the end. I don’t know if we can do this for the title because it depends on Man City who are doing something extraordinary. To win every game and draw one means you are having a fantastic run.
‘There is great motivation to find a place in the Champions League next year, there are four places for six top teams. Our start wasn’t easy for many reasons but we want to work and improve. There are many competitions and we must be very proud to play every game.’
He spoke about the two goalscorers, Morata and Alonso
‘Today it was positive for Alvaro to score because he’s our number nine and against Everton he didn’t play. Also, for Alonso to have scored five goals as a wing-back is a great achievement but it’s important for him to continue because it’s very important for us to have this alternative.
‘The commitment of my players was great. I was very happy after the Everton game with our performance but we didn’t win. If we learn to be more clinical and exploit the many chances we have in a game it will be better for us.
‘For Morata, Bakayoko and Rudiger it’s the first time they’ve played at Christmas. It’s not simple but this atmosphere is great. During this period you have your parents, brothers, daughters with you and the family come to watch the game. It’s a busy period for us but it started in November and will continue through January and February.’
Conte also highlighted the impressive link between Cesar Azpilicueta and Morata, who combined for yet another goal
‘Azpi has to score also, not only assist,’ he laughed. ‘Azpi is a defender with good feet and there is this great link between him and Alvaro, it’s not the first time, I hope they continue in this way. Morata has to pay for not just one dinner but more for Azpi, if they invite me I want to go with them.’