London Bridge not falling down

RESTORED ENERGY: As Conte oversaw the Blues' 2-1 win over West Ham from the sidelines, barking instructions and waving his arms, the home supporters detected a recharged confidence among many of the players who had performed so lamely just a few months ago.


    Aug 17, 2016

    London Bridge not falling down


    THERE was no pre-match fanfare to present Antonio Conte to the Stamford Bridge crowd before his debut as Chelsea manager.

    But Monday's 2-1 Premier League win over West Ham sent a clear message that the team are already marching to his orders.

    His side dominated their London rivals with the kind of drive that made his name as a player and as a coach in Italy.

    As the former Italy and Juventus manager watched the game from the sidelines, shouting instructions and waving his arms, the home crowd sensed a renewed confidence among many of the players who did so poorly a few months ago.

    After being hugged by fans - many of whom have still to come to terms with the sacking last year of the club's most successful manager Jose Mourinho - Conte said he believed his approach was working well.

    "Every manager, when (he) arrives in a new club, tries to bring his philosophy, his philosophy of football," he said.

    "We are working only one month with the players but I am pleased because, tonight, I saw the right intensity."

    After struggling to match West Ham in the opening 15 minutes, Chelsea gradually tightened their grip.

    Eden Hazard, booed by fans last year for failing to produce anything like his best form, got off the mark early in the second half. He converted a penalty after defender Cesar Azpilicueta was fouled.

    Chelsea dominated the second half with Hazard influential and new signing N'Golo Kante adding more bite in midfield.

    But West Ham defender James Collins hooked in a shot in the 78th minute after the Blues failed to clear a corner.

    Spain striker Diego Costa, however, capped a performance that recalled his early, unstoppable form at Chelsea by slamming home a last-minute winner after new signing Michy Batshuayi set him up with a header.