April 8, 2017

Conte Revelling In Title Pressure  (Sky Sports)

Antonio ConteAntonio Conte has admitted revelling in Chelsea soaking up all the Premier League title-race pressure and delivering a crucial 3-1 victory at Bournemouth.

An Adam Smith own-goal set the Blues on their way, before Eden Hazard's masterful finish and Marcos Alonso's curled free-kick killed off the Cherries, as Chelsea cemented their seven-point advantage over second-placed Tottenham.

Chelsea now need 15 points from seven matches to seal the league crown, but Conte has warned his Blues that Tottenham will push the race to the wire.

The Italian boss also hailed Chelsea for absorbing the pressure of Spurs' 4-0 lunchtime win over Watford by offering the perfect response at the Vitality Stadium.

"It wasn't easy to play this game after the win of Tottenham, but our reaction, our answer was very good," said Conte.

"We started the game very well, with good concentration and focus. You can feel a bit of the pressure, but it's normal... when you play after your opponent that you will see your opponent very close.

"I'm very happy to face this type of situation, and to play with only four points from our opponent.

"I like the pressure, if I don't see pressure I put pressure. Because I think under the pressure you get the best from yourself."

Hailing Chelsea's response in claiming two wins in a week after their 2-1 home defeat by Crystal Palace, Conte warned his players that Tottenham will never give up on the title.

"There are seven games to go, and we have a schedule that's not easy," he added. "But it's important to go game by game, in this case after our defeat against Crystal Palace, we played Manchester City, and we could drop points, and today we could drop points also.

"Instead we won both games. We have to continue in this way game by game, to be focused and to concentrate, because for sure Tottenham has great desire to win the title. And we must have the same desire.

"Don't forget Tottenham last season fought for the title until the end and it means that Tottenham are a really good team... Tottenham are stronger than last season, it's important we understand this."

Diego Costa's Premier League goal drought stretched to four games, with the Spain international having only hit the net three times in the league since January.

Conte again defended his spearhead striker however, insisting the 28-year-old will come good if he keeps grafting hard.

"I'm happy for his performance," said Conte. "In this moment Diego is not scoring but he's totally involved in the team and our football. He must continue to work in this way with great commitment, desire and work rate. I'm sure he can score in every game."

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