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Antonio Conte very happy to overcome the ‘advantage’ Newcastle held going into the game

3 years ago

Antonio Conte watched his team fall a goal behind to Newcastle after 12 minutes through Dwight Gayle’s opener.

However, only 21 minutes later Chelsea were in front and heading for another comfortable three points.

Conte said after the game that he was especially pleased to win because of the ‘advantage’ Newcastle held going into the match.

That ‘advantage’ being the fact that the hosts played 24 hours later than Newcastle in midweek.

Not much of an advantage when the opposition have 11 players on the pitch, plus many more on the bench and others not even in the matchday squad, who are far superior to what the visitors had.

Antonio Conte also had the luxury of bringing in the likes of Hazard, Moses, Drinkwater and Azpilicueta, none of whom had started in midweek against Swansea.

The gulf in class and cash spent on the respective squads means for me that even if Chelsea had played on the Friday night, they would still then have had far too much for Newcastle on Saturday lunchtime.

Five of Chelsea’s bench cost £140m, with the two others being England defender Gary Cahill who was bought back in 2011 for £8m, plus Willy Caballero who Newcastle wanted as their first choice keeper in the summer but Ashley even blocked a free transfer move for him due to the high wages.

All seven on Chelsea’s bench would automatically have started for Newcastle and have been our best players.

This chasm that Rafa Benitez is trying to deal with when it comes to returning to the Premier League with a seriously underfunded squad is daunting.

When it comes to playing teams that have flashed the cash, it arguably looks little easier with the next few clubs coming up, as whilst they may all have had their relative problems: Leicester, Everton and Arsenal have put serious investment into their squads.

Antonio Conte:

“I think our start wasn’t good enough. After going 1-0 down, we started to play with good intensity and good football. Our start was a bit slow.

“We did well after only two days’ rest. It was a solid performance despite the goal. We showed good motivation and good intensity. I made rotations in the game and the response of my players was positive.

“I think that today, to play and win after two days of rest means a lot. Newcastle had the advantage with one day more of rest.

“I think we must be pleased, a good answer of all my players.

 “Today another good finish, it is not simple to go 1-0 down and have the right desire and will to fight and will to win this type of game. It was very important to take three points and we did this.

“I think Hazard played a really good game. I think he enjoyed a lot playing this type of football. He is an important player as we can change, change our system. He can play as a second striker, he can play as number 10.

“Today Eden and Alvaro showed a great link and I saw a lot of good combination play. I am happy.

“But you know very well in this league there is a team doing extraordinary things, that is Manchester City.

“Otherwise I think stay there with the other teams. At the same time it is important to look at ourselves and go step by step and go game by game.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Chelsea 3 Newcastle 1


Newcastle: Gayle 12

Chelsea: Hazard 21, 74 Morata 33

Possession was Chelsea 66% Newcastle 34%

Total shots were  Chelsea 23 Newcastle 8

Shots on target were  Chelsea 9 Newcastle 2

Corners were  Chelsea 11 Newcastle 4

Referee: Kevin Friend

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Manquillo, Clark, Lejeune, Mbemba, Ritchie, Diame (Shelvey 75), Merino (Yedlin 85), Murphy, Perez (Hayden 62), Gayle

Unused Subs:

Elliot, Joselu, Mitrovic, Aarons

Crowd: 41,538 (Newcastle 3,000)

(Read what Rafa Benitez said after the defeat in West London HERE)

(Alan Shearer gives honest assessment on Chelsea defeat HERE)

(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Chelsea 3 Newcastle 1 – Read HERE)

(Danny Murphy can’t believe this Newcastle player can’t get in the team – Read HERE)

(Mikel Merino speaks after the 3-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge – Read HERE)


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