LONDON: Chelsea manager Antonio Conte says he will “sleep happy” after his side made it to the turn of the year by equalling the Premier League record for consecutive victories in a season.
Two goals from Willian and one apiece from Gary Cahill and Diego Costa ensured they claimed a 4-2 win over Stoke, their 13th in a row.
“My players showed me they are able to adapt to a different type of football,” said Conte. “My players showed me their will to fight and to take great achievement. They deserved it.”
Conte was especially pleased with the way Chelsea adapted to Stoke’s style of play after the Peter Crouch-inspired visitors caused rare problems for them in defence.
“We faced a really good team and they played the long ball, which is very difficult to intercept and win second balls,” he said.
“It’s not easy because after so many wins you face teams who want to beat you for many reasons and we must know this. When you have these type of players you can go to sleep happy.”
Chelsea were twice pegged back as Bruno Martins Indi cancelled out Gary Cahill’s header and then Crouch levelled again after Willian had scored.
Further goals from Willian and Costa sealed victory with Conte having special words of praise for the former, who broke down in tears after his second goal, two months on from the death of his mother.
“I’m pleased for him, it’s fantastic,” said the 47-year-old Italian of the Brazilian Willian. “We all know the period Willian passed through but today he played a really good game. He scored two goals and I’m happy because he’s a really good guy, he deserves this.”
Stoke put up a brave fight but manager Mark Hughes felt defensive errors cost his side.
“I thought we did really well, to be honest,” he said. “But we can’t afford to keep on making mistakes as we are at the moment. We are guilty of making catastrophic errors and it’s hurting us.”