Chelsea ‘suffered’ in midfield – Conte

Antonio Conte said he took Kurt Zouma off at half-time against Manchester City because he felt Chelsea needed to be stronger in midfield.

The Blues took a step closer to the title by winning 2-1 at Stamford Bridge, where Eden Hazard scored two first-half goals.

But City caused the Premier League leaders problems, prompting Chelsea boss Conte to replace defender Zouma and send on Nemanja Matic to link up with N’Golo Kante in midfield.

Conte explained: “It was only a tactical change. I think Kante played very well in the first half but we were suffering too much in the midfield and for this reason I preferred to pick Matic and reinforce our midfield.

“I think it was right, because in the second half we didn’t risk.”

Chelsea’s win kept them seven points clear of second-placed Tottenham, who won 3-1 at Swansea, but Conte insisted there was plenty of work still to be done.

He said: “Now there are eight games to go and it’s important to play in this type of way to win the title. There is a long way to go.”