Chelsea 4-2 Stoke
Antonio Conte believes Chelsea are showing the character of champions as they made it lucky 13 against Stoke.
Having twice taken the lead, the Blues were pegged back by plucky Stoke before Willian and Diego Costa eventually secured a 13th straight win for the league leaders.
The victory moves Chelsea a step closer to Arsenal’s Premier League record of 14 consecutive wins, established in 2002.
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte praised his side for the character they showed to beat Stoke
And Conte says his team deserve all the plaudits they get after responding twice to gutsy Stoke.
‘Did we show the charter of champions today? For sure, they showed great character,’ admitted Conte, who also said he felt Stoke’s first goal was offside.
‘It’s not easy to recover. If you take the lead and then concede, then take the lead again and then concede a second.
‘I was a footballer and I know it’s not easy. I know this type of situation. You look at the minutes and you see you don’t have a lot of time left to win the game, but my players were fantastic to find again the lead and they deserve this win.
Chelsea recorded a 4-2 victory over Stoke but had to work hard for their 13th straight win
‘After the second goal it wasn’t easy to get the good reaction and show the great character, above all after 12 wins in a row.
‘When you win a lot, there is a great danger to be satisfied. To be relaxed and think that, in the end, we’ve won a lot in the past and a draw, if we don’t win, is not important.
‘My players showed me great will, great will to fight, great will to win, great will to take this great achievement for us. I’m pleased for them and they deserve this.
‘I’m their coach, but they deserved this. When you have this type of player, you can go to sleep happy.’
Conte, though, has warned his players their unstoppable run will act as a major motivation for his side’s future opponents.
‘Now it’s not easy after 13 wins in a row, you face teams that want to beat you, not only to take three points but now for many reasons. It’s more difficult. We must know this.’
Meanwhile, Stoke boss Mark Hughes believes the title race will be between Chelsea and Liverpool.
‘Liverpool and Chelsea are completely different in their approach. Liverpool are high intensity pressure from the off, high up the pitch. Chelsea are more cagey, allow you to play in your own half, and then are devastating on the counter-attack.
‘Two very different styles, but both very effective at the moment. Costa’s performance today showed the value he gives to Chelsea. You wouldn’t want Chelsea to lose him because that could significantly damage their ability to win the league.
‘But it’ll be a close call between those two teams to win the league.’