Record dozen mat­ter to Conte

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By AGENCE FRANCEPRESSE in Lon­don

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.

FRANK AUGSTEIN / AP

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.

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