Chelsea manager Antonio Conte praise newly focused Diego Costa as “one of the best strikers in the world” after the Spaniard scored the winner in their match against Middlesbrough in the Premier League on Sunday which pushed Chelsea atop the points tally. Costa scored the lone goal of the match, on a rebound ball in the six yard area to become the leading goal scorer of the English League with 10 goals from 12 games.
This particularly gains the limelight for Costa was reputed as a player who lacked discipline and often argued with the officials but since September has managed to avoid any booking and lets his on-field football play do the talking.
“Diego is always important, not only for today,” Conte was quoted as saying to AFP. “He is our point of reference in attacking. He is impressive in the way he is finding his goals, and it is important to continue this way because we need his goals.
“Is he focused just on his football? It is important to have this question. In the past, people have been asking me about his behaviour and his reactions, but now as a striker, I think he is one of the best in the world.
“He has to continue this way, and he is showing his patience in the right way and is focused on helping the team, with and without the ball.”
With Liverpool unable to sneak in a win against Southampton on Saturday, Chelsea’s win powered them to the top of the points table for the very first time under new manager Conte and they are now a point clear of both, Liverpool and Manchester City.
Having kept a clean sheet in their last 6 matches, Conte felt it was wee-bit too early to start speculations about the team gunning for the front runner status in the title race.
“I think that now it is difficult to reply to this,” he said. “Only a month and a half ago, you saw Chelsea conceded two defeats to Liverpool and Arsenal.
“After this, Chelsea were not a favourite or a team who could fight for the title until the end. Now, it is difficult to change that opinion completely.
“We are working well, but if you ask what is our target, I want to wait until the end of the first part of the championship.
“It’s hard to say if we’re the best side in the country right now, but I’m pleased with the players because they know our fans demand that we must fight until the end. I’m seeing with my own eyes that we have special players.”
Next up, Chelsea have two difficult encounters up their sleeves. They have an away game against Manchester City before which they lock horns against London rivals Tottenham Hotspur at home next weekend.