Record dozen matter to Conte
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said his focus is on the Premier League title, not the Blues’ chance of breaking the record for consecutive topflight victories.
The 3-0 win against Bournemouth on Monday set a new club record of 12 straight league wins, one short of Arsenal’s single-season mark from 14 years ago.
Another three points against Stoke at Stamford Bridge this weekend will set up the possibility of Conte’s team breaking the record at London rival Tottenham.
However, Conte said the only thing that concerns him is the impact on the standings after the win put Chelsea seven points clear.
“If you ask me, I hope to continue winning until the end of the season but, for sure, it is not easy,” said the Italian.
“I am pleased to see my players with great concentration and focus, with great will to fight and continue in this way.
“To win 12 games in a row is not easy in this league. It’s a fantastic run but it’s important to continue that now.
“For me, it’s important only for the league table. With these 12 wins in a row we took 36 points and our position is fantastic now. It’s important only for this.
“I always thought the record is not important if at the end you don’t reach something important in your championship.”
Pedro set Chelsea on its way with a 24 th-minute opener before Eden Hazard added the second from the penalty spot four minutes into the second half. Former Barcelona forward Pedro netted a third in injury time.
Victory was achieved without suspended duo Diego Costa and N’Golo Kante, and Conte reckoned that increased the scale of Chelsea’s achievement and will be noted by the chasing pack.
“I think today we sent a good message,” said Conte.
“In general, because I think that a lot of people waited to see if, without two really important players, Costa and Kante, we could lose points in this game.
“It didn’t happen. I am pleased, because I can count on all my players. I try in every game to make the best decision for the team without looking at the faces.”
Conte used Hazard as a central striker, forcing 23-year-old Belgium international forward Michy Batshuayi to continue his wait for a first league start since his $40.5 million arrival from Marseille.
“After the Crystal Palace game I said we had a week to work to find the right solution, to play for the first time without Diego, without Kante,” added Conte.
Chelsea scorer Eden Hazard is congratulated by manager Antonio Conte after the Blues beat Bournemouth 3-0 in their English Premier League match on Monday.