Premier League Conte lauds Chelsea for passing Saints test

Nathan Ake reveals what David Luiz told him before FA Cup semi-final

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said his side had overcome a psychological hurdle in their pursuit of the Premier League title after they dispatched Southampton 4-2 at Stamford Bridge.

Tottenham, who Chelsea beat in last Saturday's FA Cup semi-final, play their game in hand on Wednesday at Crystal Palace.

As damaging as Chelsea's 2-0 defeat at Manchester United felt, the 4-2 win over Southampton on Tuesday night, coupled with the FA Cup semifinal victory against Spurs by the same scoreline, restored belief and confidence in their ability to stay the distance.

'We passed a big step, a big psychological step after the defeat against United, ' said Blues boss Conte.

"We have six games to play in the league and we need to win five if Tottenham win all of theirs, so we will see". After a rampant first season in England in 2014/15 when he scored 20 league goals for Chelsea, Costa was among the players who most openly clashed with then manager Jose Mourinho last season and angry fans booed him after Mourinho was sacked. "For this reason I must be pleased".

"I think it was a good performance on the pitch, but without the good result, and without being clinical enough in both the boxes, offensively and defensively", he told reporters after the match. And we can safely assume his team will be ready next season when they roll around.

Costa's two goals were his first in eight matches - a barren run which has coincided with reports that the striker is keen to make a big-money move to China. Goals are their life. "Sometimes he was unlucky in hard circumstances, but I was always confident about him". Now he must continue'.

Costa showed his very best qualities to shoot down Saints at Stamford Bridge, passing inside for Eden Hazard to net the opening goal with a brilliant finish before outmuscling Ryan Bertrand in the second half to head in Chelsea's third after Cahill had put the Blues back in front moments before the break, cancelling out Oriol Romeu's equaliser.

After scoring 15 goals in his first 20 Premier League appearances of the campaign, Costa had contributed just two goals in 10 top-flight games prior to the Southampton clash. "We must be confident for the future".

But manager Claude Puel, whose side remain on 40 points, drew encouragement from the moments of discomfort they caused Chelsea.

"When you keep a clean sheet, it's a great achievement for your team", Conte said.

Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill (c), Moses (Terry 86), Kante, Matic, Alonso, Fabregas (Pedro 77), Diego Costa, Hazard (Willian 90).

"It was a lost opportunity for Tottenham and I couldn't understand his comments about how he was delighted with the players".

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