'We can improve a lot' - Chelsea boss Antonio Conte after win at Southampton
Published 30/10/2016 | 19:46
Antonio Conte warned that Chelsea will keep getting better after they kept the heat on the Premier League pace-setters with a 2-0 victory at Southampton.
Convincing wins for Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool on Saturday had put pressure on Conte's men as they faced a Saints side unbeaten in five matches.
But goals from Eden Hazard and Diego Costa ensured they responded with a comfortable triumph to stay a point behind the top three.
The Blues registered a fourth straight league win for the first time since April 2015, when they were coasting towards their last title.
Ominously for their rivals, they have scored 11 goals in those four games and conceded none, with their three-man defence holding firm once again without captain John Terry.
But boss Conte insisted: "In this moment it's not important to look at the table.
"The most important thing is to work hard and trust the work. Now, game by game, I'm seeing a lot of positive things.
"I have confidence because we can improve a lot. We must continue to work, and not look at the table.
"It's very difficult to talk about the championship now. Many games must pass before you can see whether you can fight for the title.
"When you start the second part of the season our ideas will be clearer. To stay close to first place is good, and gives us great confidence."
Hazard put Chelsea on their way after only six minutes. He fed the ball out to Victor Moses on the right, received the return ball, turned Steven Davis on the byline and from a tight angle drove a low shot through Fraser Forster's legs.
It was the Belgium winger's fifth league goal of the season, already beating his tally from the whole of the last disappointing campaign.
Costa all but settled the match in the 55th minute when he collected Hazard's short pass, pushed the ball away from Cuco Martina and curled a stunning effort into the far corner.
Saints, to their credit, did not stop probing for a way back into the game and almost found it when Steven Davis' header dropped onto the top of the crossbar before Charlie Austin had a goal chalked off for offside.
"I think we played very well in the first half, but it's difficult to play against this team when you concede a goal with the first action of the match," manager Claude Puel said.
"The first goal changed the profile of the game.
"In the second half we tried but after the second goal it was difficult to come back because my players were tired.
"It was difficult to find solutions. It's disappointing because we tried to play good football. We can do better."