West London Sport

Praise for Batshuayi after Chelsea win

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Chelsea boss Antonio Conte said Michy Batshuayi has made huge progress on the tactical side of his game after seeing the striker score twice in the 3-0 FA Cup win over Newcastle,

The Blues were far from convincing early on but were in control at the break thanks to Batshuayi’s simple opener and the Belgian striker’s deflected second.

Batshuayi has scored 10 goals from a total of 25 appearances for Chelsea this sesason, but he has only started 11 games.

Conte said: “We are talking about a young player with great potential and today I showed that the most important thing for me is the present, not the future otherwise I would have taken other choices.

“Michy is a player working with us for one year and half and he has improved a lot in many tactical situations.

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“We are talking about a powerful player; he is a strong player physically and for sure he has a lot of space for improvement.

“The performance depends a lot if the striker scores or not scores. It is important to score but it is important that the striker has to work for the team and I think Michy in this way has improved a lot.

“I don’t know if this is the best game for Michy. For sure it was very important for the team and him to score. It is very important for the confidence.”

Conte was delighted with the way his team handled a “difficult” tie against Premier League opposition.

“I think a good performance,” the Italian added. “It won’t be easy because Newcastle prepared a very defensive game with players on the edge of the box, three midfielders very deep and two strikers to mark our central midfielders. It was very important to score the first goal.

“Pedro and Hazard, they created a fantastic chance with their ability and the pass from Hazard for Michy and then he scored.

“After this goal the situation was more simple. In the second half we controlled the game and didn’t risk to concede a goal.”