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Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic spoke after his side’s away win against Crystal Palace last afternoon.

The Serbian international told the club’s official website: We are very happy because of our form, 

“How we play is very good and our confidence is high because to win 11 games in a row in the Premier League is not easy, and we are very happy especially because the last three games we played in a week we won all nine points and I hope we will continue like this”.

The Blues got their 11th win in a row thanks to Diego Costa‘s goal in the first half.

“That shows you that the team is strong and is concentrating in every part of the game. As you see against Crystal Palace, they had some dangerous action but we all stayed together on the pitch and we follow the ideas of our coach and this the result”.

Anyway, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte believes the team can do even better.

“We can improve of course. – Matic stated – Sometimes when we are 1-0 up we have to find a way to kill the game because 1-0 in the Premier League against a team like Crystal Palace is very dangerous, because they can score at any time, they have good attacking players so I am sure that we can improve and that he [Conte] knows what we have to do in the future”.

“It is a long way to go, We are now almost halfway through the season and we still have many hard games so we are not favourites, we are just one of the teams that can now win the title and I am sure there are more than five teams that will try to catch us for first position”.

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Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew was really impressed by Chelsea in their Selhurst Park performance, claiming it was a very difficult match for his players, especially the forwards:

“For our offensive players, it was the toughest game they have had. This team is not getting what it is deserves. That will change,” the ex Newcastle coach said after the game.

“We have all come up against this system before but it is with outstanding players. They ask questions and do not make errors. 

He then praised the king of the midfield, N’Golo Kante:

N’Golo Kante gives so much energy like he had at Leicester and fills holes which goes unnoticed.”

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Chelsea legend Ashley Cole shared the dressing room with David Luiz for almost three years and now he is impressed on how much the Brazilian improved in these last two years, and especially these last months under Antonio Conte‘s management:

“The first time around when he was here I think he got a little bit of unjust stick,” Cole said to Sky Sports.

“I don’t think he was bad, he was a big player, for me, for Chelsea.

“[He was] a great player in the changing room and he was a big player for Chelsea.

“You see the stats, less dribbling. He’s in a three so maybe be doesn’t get the chance to get forward as much.

“You have Cesar Azpilicueta next to you and Gary Cahill [as well]. Maybe it’s chilled him out a bit.

“As I said, for me, for Chelsea he’s been a big player and now he’s repaying Chelsea and has put in some fantastic performances.”

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Gary Cahill is back to his top form this year © Francesca Ceciarini

Chelsea defender Gary Cahill is really satisfied after the 11th win in a row, a new record for a Premier League manager at his debut.

The Italian won 14 out of his first 17 games in the English championship, another record broken, and Cahill explains how all this was possible:

“We feel very confident. We feel we’re a very strong team, we’ve worked hard at it.

“Physically we’re in good shape and we’ve got some fantastic players in top form.

“We step out on the pitch confident we’re going to do the business. It’s a record we should be very proud of.”

 

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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte says Diego Costa’s ban was a little unfair, as the Spaniard ‘didn’t deserve a yellow card’ against Crystal Palace today.

“I hoped Diego would arrive after the game against Stoke without a yellow card, but it didn’t happen. It’s a pity because he’s in a good moment of form. I think he didn’t deserve the yellow card, I must be honest”.

“Against Bournemouth we will have eight days to find a different solution. It’s an opportunity for me to see another idea, but yes, we are disappointed to lose him”.

Then Costa will miss next game against Stoke City at Stamford Bridge, anyway manager Antonio Conte is not worried about the situation.

Could Michy Batshuayi start for Chelsea next week?

“It’s not easy to arrive and understand and adapt to his league – Conte stated – I can see another example, Zaza at West Ham. I know him very well, he played with me at the Euros, and he is a good player, but in England he is having a lot of difficulty”.

“This football is very tough, very physical. Michy has good quality, he’s very young, and it’s important for him to continue to work and improve, and I think this season he can have a good satisfaction”.

 

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Antonio Conte is pleased with his side’s performances so far, especially following the 0-1 away win against Crystal Palace, which secured Chelsea the 11th win in a row.

The Italian manager, speaking at press conference, said: “Today, if you arrive here without the right concentration, the right focus, the will to fight and go into battle with the opponent, you lose this game,”

“Instead, we have great quality, and the players are putting this quality in the team: this is the real secret for Chelsea now – Conte added – We are working a lot to reach this level in the table. To win 11 games in a row in this league is not simple, now and in the future. I hope to continue this way but I know every game is tough. The next game against Bournemouth will be very tough, and then Stoke City”.

“Before the season I said one thing: the manager must be a tailor. They must try to find the right fit for your team. It wasn’t easy to arrive and understand the characteristics of my players very soon. I needed a bit of time”.

“The most important thing is the mentality, a strong mentality. At work during the week – tactical work, physical work, technical work, analysis work, good food – we touched different aspects to try to improve”.

“You can bring your idea of football but if you haven’t the players who follow this idea it’s very difficult for a manager”.

About new Chelsea record, Conte added: “If I don’t say I am pleased for this record I am dishonest. I am not a person who loves stats, but it’s my first season in England and to win 14 games out of 17 is fantastic”.

“I like to see the present but I look more to see the future, and I want the future to be special for us. The only way for this is to work. We have room to improve. We are working on our principles”. 

Conte ended: “This season I tried to play with different formations and now we found a good balance offensively and defensively: I think now is not a good idea to change it!’

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Chelsea boss Antonio Conte spoke after today’s 0-1 win against Crystal Palace, which secured the 11th win in a row so far this season.

“The run is fantastic. Congratulations to my players, not me – Conte said after the game – I am pleased for them because they deserve this. I see every single moment, every day. It is commitment, the way we prepare for the game and the way they fight. I am pleased for the fans who are fantastic home and away and who push us”.

Then Conte added: “We can improve though. You can always improve in different aspects. I am pleased with this level we have reached, but it is important to understand we are only at the 17th game in the season. We must not look at the table. We must not look at our rivals and continue working hard ourselves”.

Thibaut Courtois at full stretch made a stunning save against West Bromwich Albion last time out and Conte underlined the importance of a decisive goalkeeper in the squad.

“We have reached a good balance between offence and defence. In some moments, our goalkeeper has been decisive. We dominated the last game but Thibaut made a fantastic save. After last season when he conceded lots of goals, this season is very good for him. We attack and defend as a team.”

 

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Crystal Palace welcomed the current Premier League leaders Chelsea to Selhurst Park for the first game of the round 17.

The Eagles have had a mixed run of form compared to their west London rivals who were looking to record their 11th win on the bounce. The game started with Chelsea dominating proceedings as usual but chances were few and far between,with both sides struggling to get into their strides.

Diego Costa also picked up his 5th booking of the season which rules him out of the boxing day fixture with Bournemouth after a reckless tackle on Ledley. But breakthrough would come in the 43rd minute,when Cesar Azpillicueta found Diego Costa in the box who rose the highest to head in Chelsea’s first as the blues went 1 up and took the 1-0 lead into the second half.

The second half started with Crystal Palace coming out differently to assert dominance in the game holding majority of the possession for most of the early parts of the second half but failed to find any breakthrough. As the game went on Chelsea took charge again and dominated play with Antonio Conte withdrawing Victor Moses and Willian for Branislav Ivanovic and Cesc Fabregas. Chelsea almost went close again with Diego Costa, N’Golo Kante and Marcos Alonso unfortunately hitting the crossbar with his freekick. But that was almost about that as Thibuat Courtois was relatively untroubled as Diego Costa’s lone strike which was his 13th of the season was enough for Antonio Conte’s men to continue their winning run which stands at 11 games at the moment as they extend their lead at the top of the table to 9 points momentarlly.

Antonio Conte though,would be furious as Diego Costa and N’golo Kante picked up their 5th bookings of the season which rules them out of the clash with Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge on boxing day.

Chelsea David Luiz

Chelsea (3-4-3): Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill (c); Moses (Ivanovic 79), Kante, Matic, Alonso; Willian (Fabregas 64), Diego Costa (Batshuayi 89), Hazard.
Unused subs Begovic, Zouma, Chalobah, Pedro.
Booked Diego Costa 22, Kante 60, Fabregas 90+2. 
Scorer 
Diego Costa 44

Palace (4-2-3-1): Hennessey; Kelly, Dann (c), Delaney, Ward; McArthur, Ledley; Zaha, Cabaye (Campbell 79), Puncheon (Townsend 77); Benteke.
Unused subs Speroni, Fryers, Husin, Mutch, Lee.
Booked Ward 17, Cabaye 65.

Referee Jon Moss
Crowd 25,259

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Chelsea centre-back Kurt Zouma has been selected in the 23-man squad against Crystal Palace after 10 months.

The Frenchman has completed the rehabilitation from a horror injury suffered in a 1-1 draw with Manchester United in February.

“Now it’s important to find the right form and to let him understand this new idea of football and tactics” Conte said about Zouma last month.

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Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta gave his thoughts on today’s clash against Crystal Palace, which could represent Antonio Conte’s 11th win in a row.

“We know it will be difficult, just like the last games against Sunderland and West Brom when we really had to fight to get the three points” the Spaniard told the club’s official website.

“We want to keep our place at the top of the table, we know we are there because we’ve been working hard as a team”.

Then Azpilicueta ended: “We’ve been training well and getting our rewards, but there is a long way to go. We have to stay focused because we know how quickly things can change.”

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