Contê Praises Blues Army Patience


Antonio Conte praised the “great patience” of his Chelsea players after three second-half goals saw them take another step towards the Premier League title with an emphatic victory over Everton at Goodison Park.
Strikes from Pedro Rodriguez, Gary Cahill and substitute Willian enabled the Premier League leaders to hand Everton only their second home league defeat of the season and pile the pressure on second-placed Tottenham ahead of Sunday’s North London derby clash with Arsenal at White Hart Lane.
Chelsea struggled to break Everton’s resistance in a disjointed opening 45 minutes, but Pedro’s 25-yard screamer on 66 minutes set the visitors on course for a win that means they need a maximum of nine points from their four remaining games to be confirmed as champions.
“I must be pleased for the performance,” Conte said. “It wasn’t easy to play against a really strong team and a really good manager that prepared the game really well with good tactical organisation. My players showed me great patience to wait for the right moment to hit.
“For us it was very important to keep the clean sheet after 13 games. This is very important for our confidence for the final part of the season. We know Everton won eight games in a row at Goodison Park so it’s a good win for us, we must be pleased for this.”
Asked if Chelsea had taken a big step towards winning the title, he replied: “I don’t know. It is a great win. Now it is important for us to prepare the right way the next game. If we don’t win against Middlesbrough we lose this great win.
“Now there are four games to go. For us every win is a great win and for this reason we must celebrate in the right way, with my players with the staff with our fans. We must have great enthusiasm and great patience because we are having a great season, but to become a fantastic season we must win [the title].”
Chelsea recorded their first Premier League clean sheet since January despite losing David Luiz to a groin injury on 82 minutes, to be replaced by Nathan Ake.
“I didn’t speak with the doctor about his injury but I don’t think it is a serious injury,” Conte said. “I hope in the next game that David Luiz is available to play. Also now in this part of the season it is important sometimes to try to play if you are not 100 percent. He is showing us great commitment in this season. Don’t forget his injury in the knee after the game against City.
“But I am very pleased for the impact of Ake in this game. He came on and he looked like a veteran and it’s great.”
Everton manager Ronald Koeman insisted that his team did not deserve a 3-0 after holding Chelsea scoreless for over an hour, but conceded that he had “maybe” seen the champions in the final 30 minutes at Goodison Park.
“One of the most difficult things [against Chelsea] is to create chances,” he said. “It is a difficult system to play against. They wait and they are really clinical. They missed two good chances in the first half but it is a team that, maybe without playing on a high football level, win the game because they have that quality.
“I think we did well. We started well and were a bit unlucky we hit the post. I think we made some mistakes in our ball possession and that made them really dangerous in the first half, but I think we did a good job until the 1-0.
“After that it makes it more difficult to create really open chances and if they get a little bit more space they are a team who will kill the game. The third goal was that high quality offensive football. Maybe we didn’t deserve this defeat with three goals difference, but this is football.”


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