Conte enjoying the pressure as Chelsea march on

Antonio Conte insisted Diego Costa is still a significant player for Chelsea after the striker's goalless run widened to four matches as the Premier League leaders won 3-1 at Bournemouth on Saturday.

But, with the pressure mounting in the closing weeks of the season, Chelsea showed nerves of steel as Adam Smith's own goal and strikes from Hazard and Marcos Alonso wrapped up a vital win.

Chelsea remain seven points clear of Tottenham at the top of the Premier League following their victory at the Vitality Stadium.

"I think a lot of people enjoyed this game, Chelsea against City, this is the most important thing for us".

Conte's side ground out a barely deserved 2-1 win over Manchester City on Wednesday just days after crashing to a shock 2-1 home defeat against struggling Crystal Palace. "We started the game very well with great attention and focus".

"They're a really good team, with a good coach, a good idea of football".

While it's easy to say that we ignore all that noise, it clearly filters back to the players and the manager, not only through pre- and post-match interviews, but through Twitter, Facebook, and whatever other fake or non-fake channels of media the youth of today uses to stay informed.

"Tottenham are stronger than last season, it's important we understand this". However, he has been very important for the team throughout the entire season. When you play after your opponent it's normal if you see that the opponent is very close to you to feel a bit of pressure.

"We are a team, not 11 single players".

The Italian, whose Chelsea side won 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium in December, is the first boss to inflict a league double over Guardiola in the Catalan's career.

But Alonso re-established Chelsea's two-goal cushion in emphatic fashion, taking them another step towards the title.

Costa, who is still looking for Premier League goal number 50, twice failed to make contact with inviting crosses after the break but did win the free-kick that secured the win for Chelsea. What's amusing for us is the fervor with which they pin their hopes to Spurs just twelve months after gleefully dancing on their graves as Leicester City confirmed their most unlikely triumph. 'To come in, from where they were previous year - they had a very hard season.

"I was pretty concerned about Bournemouth a couple of months ago when it seemed they may be sucked into a relegation battle".

'For me there's a new maturity about him this year, ' Lampard added.

Although both teams had some more chances to score, neither found the back of the net.

The only effect it had on Chelsea was to energise them, as Conte pretty much admitted.

  • Julie Sanders