Antonio Conte insists that Chelsea are not interested in sending a message to the rest of the Premier League despite demolishing Everton 5-0 at Stamford Bridge to surge to the top of the table.
Goals from Eden Hazard, Marcos Alonso and Diego Costa put Chelsea three goals ahead before half-time against Ronald Koeman’s men, and Hazard added a spectacular fourth after the break before Pedro Rodriguez completed the rout by following up a Maarten Stekelenburg save in the 65th minute.
Chelsea’s fifth consecutive Premier League victory was their most emphatic yet since Conte’s decision to switch to a 3-4-3 formation, and the Blues have now scored 16 goals and conceded none in their dynamic new system.
But Conte is adamant that the Blues are paying no attention to their league position or the fortunes of their rivals.
“We don’t want to send a message to the other teams,” he said. “It’s important to send a message to ourselves, to think and be focused on our work. Not to see the others.
“We want to improve and we’re working a lot to improve. I think this is the right way and the players are recognising this way to continue.
“It’s important to celebrate this win, but I like to say that now Everton is the past. After the international break it’s important to be focused and to restart in the same way that we left it [here].
“If we look at the table tonight we can see we are top. Tomorrow probably the situation can change, but it’s not important.
“Today it was important to win, to continue to improve, to play good football and bring onto the pitch our principles. Five games in a row we don’t concede — I think we can be satisfied.”
Hazard provided further evidence that he has returned to the best form of his Chelsea career with two goals and a man of the match display, and the Belgian has now scored five times in his last four Premier League matches.
“Eden is playing fantastic football and showing his talent, along with all the players,” Conte said of Hazard. “But the most important thing I’m seeing from Eden is that he’s fantastic with the ball, but he’s fantastic without the ball.
“He’s working very hard for the team — Eden, Diego and Pedro. When the teammates see this type of commitment from the strikers without the ball, I’m satisfied. I hope to continue [this way].”
Costa consolidated his position at the top of the Premier League scoring charts with his ninth strike of the season despite an early tackle from Seamus Coleman that left blood seeping through his sock from his left ankle, and after the match Conte revealed that he has no concerns for his striker’s fitness.
“I don’t think it’s a great injury, because in the first half he took a bad kick in the ankle, but then he continued to play and play very well,” Conte said of Costa. “He’s a fantastic player and he showed his passion, and he continues to score goals. I’m not worried about his injury.”
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