Antonio Conte praised his Chelsea players for managing to “keep calm” during the mass brawl that marred the final minutes of their 3-1 victory over Manchester City, and says he hopes that David Luiz did not pick up an injury as a result of Sergio Aguero’s tackle.
Tempers flared in the closing stages of Saturday’s match when Aguero caught Luiz high and late with a challenge, and Nathaniel Chalobah’s push on the Argentina striker prompted more players from both teams, as well as members of both benches, to get involved in pushing and shoving.
Aguero was shown a straight red card by referee Anthony Taylor for his tackle on Luiz, while Fernandinho was also dismissed after becoming embroiled in a separate confrontation with Cesc Fabregas, but no Chelsea players were red carded and after the match Conte paid tribute to his team’s self-control.
“This final [part of the game] wasn’t good, and I hope only that Luiz isn’t injured from this tackle,” Conte told Chelsea’s official website. “It’s very difficult to explain this final [part of] of the game. When the referee whistles for the end, it’s important that we finish.
“I’m very happy because I always tell my players to focus on the game, on the pitch, and always to keep calm. It’s normal when you play these big games — it’s not easy to keep calm in every single moment. But I’m pleased because I saw all my players tried to keep calm.”
This match was the first meeting between Conte and Pep Guardiola since the pair became managers, and second-half goals from Diego Costa, Willian and Eden Hazard ensured that the Italian emerged triumphant as Chelsea extended their winning streak in the Premier League to eight matches.
“It was a good experience,” Conte said of facing Guardiola. “This was the first game against Pep and I’m pleased to win, and also I think to be a bit lucky in this game. I’m pleased because Manchester City is a really good team with great players and a good idea of football.”
Costa was substituted with five minutes left to play after receiving lengthy treatment on the pitch, but Conte insists he has no significant injury concerns about the Premier League’s top scorer, adding: “He was very tired because he ran a lot, but I think — I hope — he can recover for the next game.”
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