Chelsea boss Antonio Conte admitted to feeling a sense of ‘relief’ as Diego Costa’s late strike ensured a 1-0 victory over gritty West Brom at Stamford Bridge.
Tony Pulis’ side had frustrated the Blues throughout with a determined display until Costa broke the deadlock with just over 15 minutes remaining with a goal that owed as much to his persistence as anything else.
Speaking after the game to Match of the Day, Conte said: “For sure there was relief, it was a tough game and we prepared for this situation. We played with passion. West Brom is a tough team, a physical team who are difficult to break down. It was a good win and now we must continue.
“We must know the other teams try to block our football and for this reason it’s important to play with patience. Then you must pay attention, avoid the counter attack. We had a dangerous opponent, but we were good for commitment and work rate. We deserved to win.”
Conte admits Chelsea were forced to work hard for the win and insisted once again he wouldn’t get carried away despite their ninth straight win in the Premier League.
“We have won nine in a row which is fantastic because this league is very tough,” he added. “We are working very well.
“I think West Brom prepared well defensively and tried to close every space. This game if you find the goal quickly, you can have an easier game. When you don’t find the goal, it becomes more difficult but we were very good to find in the right moment to do it.”
Speaking about Costa’s efforts for Chelsea, Conte added on BT Sport: “Diego Costa has fantastic commitment and work rate during the game with and without the ball. He was good to score the goal. He is playing fantastic football and it’s important because he is working a lot for the team.
“I tried to change the cards, and to find a different solution. West Bromwich prepared well with great organisation. It was important to change the game and Cesc Fabregas is a good player when he came on, and I like him a lot.”