Costa helps Chelsea get back on track

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

CHELSEA man­ager An­to­nio Conte paid trib­ute to Diego Costa as the re­vi­talised Spain for­ward took his sea­son’s tally to six goals in seven games in a much-needed 2-0 win at Hull.

Costa did not reach the half-dozen goal mark un­til the first week of Jan­uary last sea­son, but the tem­per­a­men­tal star looks back to his best un­der Chelsea’s new Ital­ian coach.

His at­tack­ing part­ner­ship with Wil­lian and Eden Hazard proved un­stop­pable for slump­ing Hull as the for­mer opened the scor­ing be­fore Costa wrapped up all three points on Oc­to­ber 1.

“It’s fan­tas­tic for him, for us,” said Conte, whose side got back on track af­ter de­feats against Liver­pool and Ar­se­nal.

“He has scored six goals but I think Diego has the op­por­tu­nity every game to score goals.

“It’s im­por­tant he scored a goal but it’s im­por­tant he’s work­ing for the team. For me, this is the most im­por­tant thing – to­gether with Wil­lian, to­gether with Hazard.

“I’m pleased with the per­for­mance be­cause we played with the right in­ten­sity and good pres­sure.

“Af­ter two de­feats, it’s never easy, but I’m pleased with the at­ti­tude and com­mit­ment of the play­ers. We’re work­ing hard and I think that’s the right way.

“We must fol­low this way be­cause we must know that we have to im­prove a lot and if we want to im­prove there is only one way – that is to work.”

Conte dropped Branislav Ivanovic and switched to a three-man cen­tral de­fen­sive line-up in a bid to re­turn to win­ning ways af­ter col­lect­ing one point from the last three games.

It was the first time Ivanovic had been left out of a Chelsea line-up since the An­dre Vil­las-Boas era, al­though Conte in­sisted he had no hes­i­ta­tion in mak­ing the switch.

“I try to choose the best for the team,” he said. “Be­cause I want to win, the fans want to win and I have dif­fer­ent op­tions in this sit­u­a­tion. I think that is nor­mal.

“And it’s im­por­tant that the play­ers must be in­volved in the project – all the play­ers to­gether be­cause to­gether we win, to­gether we lose. It’s im­por­tant to work to­gether and trust in the work.”

The new for­ma­tion cer­tainly had the de­sired ef­fect as Chelsea recorded just their sec­ond clean sheet of the sea­son and its con­tin­ued use, af­ter the com­ing in­ter­na­tional break, seems likely.

“We were able to de­fend very high and this is very im­por­tant,” said Conte. “The team was very com­pact and when we lost the ball, we tried to win it back very soon.

“All the play­ers worked very well. When we work to­gether, it’s easy.”

Hull, hav­ing played Manch­ester United, Liver­pool and Ar­se­nal in their pre­vi­ous four games, can look for­ward to a kinder fix­ture list on the hori­zon, al­though care­taker man­ager Mike Phe­lan re­mains un­clear about his own po­si­tion.

“My fu­ture will take care of it­self but there is no panic,” he said.” –

Photo: AFP

Chelsea’s Brazil­ian-born Span­ish striker Diego Costa (left) wins a header from Hull City’s English mid­fielder Jake Liver­more dur­ing the English Premier League foot­ball match be­tween Hull City and Chelsea at the KCOM Sta­dium in Kingston upon Hull, Eng­land, on Oc­to­ber 1.

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