Conference call: Admiring Alvaro

There were several aspects of the 4-0 win at Stoke for Antonio Conte to discuss afterwards but there was only one place to begin – his hat-trick hero Alvaro Morata.

The summer signing doubled his tally for his new club with an eye-catching three-goal haul that put the Blues ahead very early on, then finished the game off with two late strikes following Pedro’s first-half goal which had made it 2-0…

‘Alvaro performed very well,’ praised Conte. ‘He scored a hat-trick and for a striker this is very important, and don’t forget the last game it happened the same with Batshuayi. It means we create chances for our strikers.

‘I am pleased for his performance and the performance of the team. It is not easy to win away games against Stoke, this game is always difficult. I remember very well last season when we struggled a lot to win and we won at the end of the game.

‘Today we started very well and then we were good when suffering [pressure from Stoke]. It was important not to lose our composure and to stay always in the game, and then we scored two goals and we created many chances to improve the score. It was 4-0 but it was a difficult game.’

Conte explained his reason for substituting the booked Marcos Alonso early in the second half and for not substituting Thibaut Courtois who needed treatment after landing badly soon after…

‘I spoke with our doctor about Thibaut, above all about whether I could make a different substitution and he said Thibaut was okay and you can make another substitution. Now he is okay and ready to play the next game against Atletico Madrid.

Alonso was a tactical substitution because I saw Mark Hughes was about to bring on Peter Crouch. I remember last season we always suffered against him and for this reason, I preferred to reinforce the defence with Cahill and play Azpilicueta as wing-back.

Alonso never risked taking a second yellow card. The person who risked a lot was Peter Crouch with a bad tackle.’

Conte had words of thanks for the travelling Chelsea supporters…

‘Our fans were fantastic today. They pushed the team a lot in every moment of the game, and in this stadium where the home crowd push a lot. I want to thank the fans because they helped the team today and I am pleased also because there was a good change to the Morata song.’ 

CONTE: We must be pleased with this performance