Conte happy Chelsea escape from Hornets sting
CHELSEA manager Antonio Conte praised the commitment and focus of his players after their 2-1 victory at Watford.
Late goals by Michy Batshuayi and Diego Costa earned three points that seemed unlikely when Etienne Capoue put the Hornets ahead early in the second half on Saturday.
Chelsea were second-best for the first 70 minutes but Conte sent on Batshuayi and Cesc Fabregas who had a hand in both goals.
It was the second successive match in which Costa had scored a late winner after his decider against West Ham last Monday and Conte took heart from his team's comeback.
"In these two games we have seen the right spirit, the right commitment.
"After a bad season like last year's, it's not easy to start in a good way and win games.
"Yes, the subs had a good impact but I think it's normal when you push for 70 minutes, the opposition pays for the effort it has put in, and when the new players come on, there is an impact."
Conte agreed that his intense fitness regime had paid off in Chelsea's ability to perform strongly late in games.
His decision not to start Fabregas in either of this season's Premier League matches has been seen as a sign that the Spain midfielder may not be part of his long-term plans.
"We all know Cesc is a great technical player with a good pass and good assists and I made this substitution because I wanted more quality," the manager said.
Costa was in the bad books of the opposing fans as usual, this time for a challenge on Capoue that ended the Watford man's afternoon.
But Conte defended the volatile Spain forward, saying: "He scored two goals but I'd have preferred him to score them earlier.
"Diego is working hard like the other players but he can improve a lot."