Friday 17 August 2018

Chelsea boss Conte happy to prove critics wrong with thumping win at Brighton

Conte also revealed Andreas Christensen had suffered a simple contusion rather than concussion.

Antonio Conte
Antonio Conte

By Andy Sims, Press Association Sport

Antonio Conte felt Chelsea proved a point to the cynics after a thumping 4-0 victory at Brighton.

Two-goal Eden Hazard inspired the champions, stuttering in the top four after three straight draws, to their first win of 2018.

The Blues were without Alvaro Morata through suspension and are continually being linked with a new striker, but they had no problem finding the net at the Amex Stadium.

And boss Conte said: “It was a good game for us. In the last period we hadn’t scored a lot but today we scored four goals.

“We created other chances as well. We had a lot of suspensions and injuries but we showed great personality to be a team.

“A lot of times people try to see the negative aspects and not the positive aspects.

“We are doing important work with these players. We were missing very important players and we won 4-0.”

Only three minutes had elapsed when Moses crossed for Hazard, who sidestepped Lewis Dunk before firing home.

And with six minutes on the clock Hazard and Michy Batshuayi combined in a blur of back-heels before Willian put the seal on a stunning goal.

Hazard put the game to bed with a fine solo strike 13 minutes from time and Moses added the gloss as full-time approached.

But things could have been different as Brighton had two decent penalty shouts turned down with the score at 2-0.

Full-back Ezequiel Schelotto was twice tripped in the area, first by Blues keeper Willy Caballero and then by Tiemoue Bakayoko.

With the video assistant referee (VAR) system Chelsea felt so hard done by in midweek not in place, Jonathan Moss waved away both appeals.

But Seagulls manager Chris Hughton said: “I thought they were both penalties.

“If that goes in it makes it 2-1 and gives you that momentum and something to search for.”

Chelsea lost defender Andreas Christensen to a head injury, with referee Moss eventually leading the player off after he had insisted on playing on despite being clearly dazed.

“Andreas had a contusion and we made a substitution but the player didn’t want to come off,” added Conte. “But we had players like David Luiz on the bench so it was simple for me to tell him no.

“Also because the referee tried to force this substitution, but it was a simple contusion and the player is OK. For tomorrow’s training session he is ready.”

Hughton, yet to see his side take a point from any of the top six, reverted to a back five against the Blues.

But it was his decision to leave Anthony Knockaert, the hero of last season’s promotion campaign, out of the squad entirely which caused a stir amid rumours the Frenchman had left the ground before kick-off.

“I saw him before the game so I know he was here, but I’m not aware of anything else,” added Hughton.

“I would like to think anyone not in the starting XI wouldn’t be happy.”

Press Association

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