Chelsea's Antonio Conte hails Eden Hazard's 'great character' after being targeted

"It is not simple to receive a yellow card after a few minutes but Diego has been showing this season, not only this game, to be very disciplined".

In the 13th minute, Stoke's pressing left Marcos Alonso open and the former Fiorentina man galloped down the left before winning a free kick in a crossing position.

Conte is undoubtedly one of the most passionate managers working in the game today, and he's not afraid to show his emotions when they get the better of him. With Grant waiting for a cross, Willian fires a free-kick low at the near post and past the goalkeeper, who can't keep it out despite getting two hands to the ball.

Cahill reacted quickest to an Erik Pieters mistake to lash a shot beyond Lee Grant with three minutes remaining at the bet365 Stadium, having earlier conceded a penalty with a push that allowed Jonathan Walters to cancel out Willian's clever free-kick opener in the 13th minute.

Antonio Conte says Chelsea's switch to a back four during the second half at Stoke showed they are prepared to take risks in order to win matches. As dips in form go, it is one most strikers would take but nobody is talking about Costa as a potential PFA Player of the Year now.

He said: "This is not the first time [the system was changed mid-game]".

"We didn't do that", Hughes protested, "more likely he targeted our players".

The goal increased Chelsea's wait for a Premier League clean sheet to six games, but the visitors nearly provided an immediate response when Pedro fired over from a rebound after seeing his initial shot blocked.

Stoke are coming into this home game against the league leaders in a confident mood after putting in a strong performance against Manchester City in their previous encounter.

Hughes also thought match-winner Cahill was lucky to be on the pitch after pushing Walters for the penalty. Estadio Deportivo reports that the 21-year-old Paraguay worldwide, who is enjoying a great season in Spain with Real Betis, is one of Mauricio Pochettino's primary summer targets. Phil Bardsley's red card in the final minutes was inconsequential in the context of Cahill's shattering strike. But after a season without continental competition Conte may feel that a slight restructuring of the squad may be in order for the step up in class and playing demands of the Champions League. Also, the flinging himself into the crowd of adoring Chelsea fans.

  • Julie Sanders