Conte hails Cahill and Costa after ‘great win’

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte praised match-winner Gary Cahill and the dogged Diego Costa after the 2-1 victory at Stoke City that took the Blues a step closer to the Premier League title.

Cahill’s 87th-minute goal made amends for him giving away a first-half penalty, from which Stoke’s Jonathan Walters had levelled the score.

Costa, meanwhile, received an early booking for dissent and was involved in running battles with several Stoke players, but Conte was pleased with both of his players’ commitment.

“I am pleased for Cahill,” Conte said. “We conceded the penalty because the referee saw a little push by him and then to score the goal is great for him and for our team.

“Diego I think played very well. He also showed me great discipline, because it’s not easy to start the game, receive the yellow card and then to keep calm.

“But Diego is showing me great behaviour and a great will to fight for the team and think for the team. I want him to continue this way.”

The win at Stoke puts Chelsea 13 points clear at the top, although that could be reduced to 10 again on Sunday.

Conte added: “I’m pleased because to play against Stoke you must be prepared, mentally and physically.

“We always tried to play football. I think we deserved to win but for sure we faced a really good team, very strong.

“I think that we need to take 21 points to win the league. There are 10 games to go.

“For sure, today is a great win, a good signal for us. But it’s important to continue this way, with the same commitment, the same work-rate.”