Chelsea were back in the goals and more importantly, back in the winning column on Saturday after five straight draws in all competitions, including back-to-back-to-back 0-0s for the first time in club history before Wednesday’s penalty kick shootout win over Norwich City in the FA Cup.
It didn’t take long for Chelsea to open the scoring, jumping out to the two-goal inside of seven minutes, and while Brighton made a game of it, Chelsea held on to the clean sheet and settled the game with a couple more goals in the final 15 minutes of the contest.
Antonio Conte was understandably happy with the result, especially after six senior players were either injured or suspended for this game.
“A good game and a good result for us. In the last period we didn’t score a lot, and instead today we scored four goals and created other chances to improve the final result. We kept another clean sheet which is very important for us, despite Brighton creating chances to score.
“Before the game, a lot of people had a lot of worry about our suspensions and injuries. Instead during the game, we showed great personality to be a team. We started the game very well, we scored twice quickly with good combinations between our strikers. We must be happy for this.”
The result extends Chelsea’s unbeaten streak to a dozen matches, a streak that’s had the shine taken off of it by the aforementioned draws, but a streak that does underline the team’s solidity even amid the constant off-pitch rumors and chatter.
“A lot of the time the press tries to see the negative aspect, and not the positive aspect. This team, with many problems, are unbeaten in 12 games in all competitions. This means we are doing important work.”
Conte, who’s been sacked several times by the press this season, not to mention assumed to be leaving the club in the summer, seemed to circle back on this notion that he’s not much longer for Chelsea, by once again talking about building for the future.
“To win in this way, despite not having five important players, means every player deserves to have a chance and every player has to fight to play. Now we have to continue in this way. I am pleased with my players’ response today.
“You could see on our bench there was Charly Musonda, and Ampadu, and Sterling. These are the present and the future of Chelsea. The club asks me to improve the young players, and I am doing this. Christensen is only 21 years old and he is playing every game. We are doing an important job for this club. Every player today showed great responsibility, and felt the responsibility. To grow in this aspect is very important for us.”
But we have plenty of time to worry about the future. For now, the only thing that matters is the next game, which will be the all-important League Cup semifinal second leg against Arsenal on Wednesday.
“From tomorrow, every single player who scored today has to forget about that, and try to score again against Arsenal. This is the most important thing: to be happy for today’s performance, but from tomorrow to start to think about another important game.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC
Onwards and upwards!