Conte salutes spirited Chelsea

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WATFORD, UK: Chelsea manager Antonio Conte praised the commitment and focus of his players after their 2-1 victory over Watford at Vicarage Road.

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Late goals by Michy Bat­shuayi, his first for the club, and Diego Costa gave Chelsea three points that seemed unlikely when Etienne Ca­poue put Watford ahead early in the second half on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).

Chelsea were second-best for the first 70 minutes, but Conte sent on Batshuayi and then Cesc Fabregas and the former scored while the latter had a hand in both goals.

It was the second successive match in which Costa has scored a late winner after his decider against West Ham United last Monday and Conte took heart from his team’s battling comeback.

“In these two games we have seen the right spirit, the right commitment,” Conte said.

“After a bad season like last year’s, it’s not easy to start in a good way and win games, and it won’t be easy, so we must know that we have to continue.

“It’s important to change the situation compared to last season and we are trying to do that with all our strength.

“Yes, the subs had a good impact but I think it’s normal when you push for 70 minutes, the opposition pays for the effort it has put in, and when the new players come on, there is an impact.”

Conte agreed that his intense fitness regime, which has included double sessions in pre-season, has paid off in Chelsea’s ability to perform strongly late in games.

“I believe that work pays and always pays,” he said.

“It’s important. We are working very hard and we will continue to. And wins like this are very important to improve confidence and trust in the work.”

AFP

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