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Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is showing a great shape with the Blues so far, conceding only 2 goals in the last 8 Premier League games.

The Belgium international told the club’s official website: “It’s going very well, I didn’t have so much work on Saturday, there was one save low down to my left and I came to claim a couple of high balls well, so after that they had to put the crosses further away from me”.

Chelsea won last away game against Crystal Palace thanks to Diego Costa‘s header.

‘In the first 20 minutes of the second half we suffered but I think when Cesc came on we found more balls between the lines and it became calmer for us. We had some good chances, we didn’t take them, but I think we deserved to win”.

“It was a good clean sheet, good work from all the team and another victory so we’re happy. Now we want to enjoy Christmas and after that we have another important game against Bournemouth.”

About Diego Costa, who will be ruled out of next game against Bournemouth, Courtois stated: “It’s a big blow because he’s a top striker, He scored his 13th goal of the season and he’s in top form”.

“He’s been one booking away for many games now, so if he’d had a bit more luck he would have stayed like that until the New Year, when it’s gone, but hopefully Michy, or whoever the manager plays there, will do well”.

Chelsea staff can count also on a ‘good bench’, as confirmed by the goalkeeper himself.

“For the manager, it’s not easy to choose players. With Cesc, Michy, Pedro, Ivanovic and Zouma we had a good bench and to be champions you need not only 11 players, but 18 or 22, the whole squad. We have a good team and we try to prove that every week.”

Then Courtois added: “That defeat to Arsenal hurt us but we’ve come back stronger with the new tactics and system. It works well, everybody is doing their job and we keep on winning. The spirit is very important”.

“This week was good because we played against smaller teams but they defend well and it’s hard to break them down. To win all three games 1-0 is very good and we’re happy”.

Bournemouth and then Stoke City will travel to West London as they will face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day.

“We now have two home games in front of our fans so we need to win them both.”

 

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Chelsea will face Bournemouth on Boxing Day next week, and manager Antonio Conte is sure that his players can maintain a good shape to extend the Blues’ winning sequence.

The Italian manager told the club’s official website: “On Christmas Day the players will stay together like the normal situation before a game,”

“We’ll have a dinner in the hotel at nine o’clock, then we sleep, and the next day we will play the game when we hope to continue to win. Now we have a good pressure – after 11 wins we have positive pressure that we want to continue to win.”

Chelsea have been linked with several players as the transfer market window will reopen in January.

“We must be very pleased for the achievement we have reached now”, he said “But it is logical that I look with my club for a solution to arrive in a good position at the end of the season”.

“I don’t know what will happen in January but in this situation it is important to talk with my club – we have a fantastic relationship – but I have my idea and I prefer to discuss this with the club.”

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Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta spoke after his side’s away win against Crystal Palace last time out.

The Spaniard is playing as a centre-back in a three-man defense, with Marcos Alonso playing as a wing-back.

“It is a new position but since we have changed the formation we have worked a lot on it during the week, – Azpilicueta told Chelsea TV – So we try to keep improving and I try always to give my best for the team and I am really happy with the wins”.

Chelsea will face Bournemouth, Stoke City and the Tottenham: “Obviously it’s a busy period but we are professional, we know what we have to do”.

‘At Christmas you can feel there is a different atmosphere inside the stadiums, the fans enjoy it and I do too. It’s a busy period and a time when you have to get as many points as possible. We have to be ready to face that challenge.’

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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte admitted now he can see ‘a strong mentality’ in his players’.

The Italian manager told the club’s official website: “To play this physical game against Crystal Palace and to have the right behaviours, to understand the way to fight to win, to fight in the same way like Crystal Palace is not simple”.

“The best thing you can see is these players with great talent and great commitment are putting their talent in the team. This is fantastic for me, and also for the fans, to see this commitment, this will to fight for every ball”.

Chelsea earned their 9th clean sheet so far this season, and Conte is pleased with this reward.

“I appreciate, it’s fantastic because it’s not easy to not concede goals in this league,”

“Whenever there is a corner or a throw-in or a free-kick, the opponent can always have the opportunity to score a goal,”

“I think we could have scored more goals on Saturday, but we only got one, and it was the same at Sunderland. We can improve and be more clinical because when you have this type of game you are at risk until the end”.

“At Sunderland we were at risk when only a great save from Thibaut allowed us to win and we can improve on this aspect.”

“After the defeats we changed something in me, in my players, in the club as well, we understood the way to go and have a different season compared to last season”.

“We found the right solution with the formation, but also improved the quality of our work in all aspects – the tactical aspect, the physical aspect and I am pleased for this because after these two bad games, we changed a lot”.

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Chelsea winger Willian has confirmed that his teammate Oscar has already said goodbye to the squad as he look set to join Chinese Super League side Shanghai SIPG when the transfer market window reopens in January.

The Brazilian star told ESPN: “Yes, Oscar has already said goodbye. He’s a good friend and a great player.”

It is understood Chelsea will receive around £60m, a fee which could be reinvested to strengthen his team, as Antonio Conte is reportedly in search of back-ups.

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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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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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