For all the talk of crisis at Stamford Bridge following last week’s meltdown against Burnley, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte was left saluting his side on Sunday after they edged Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 in a match they could just as easily have lost.
Conte was forced to field a makeshift side against Spurs after suspensions and injury ate into his options, with David Luiz forced into midfield and Andreas Christensen handed a first start in the Premier League. Yet two goals from Marcos Alonso left Tottenham, unbeaten at White Hart Lane last season, with only one win in 10 competitive games in this stadium
The victory helped ease the tension after a difficult summer behind the scenes and the untimely loss to Burnley at Stamford Bridge on the opening weekend, with Conte praising his depleted team’s response in adversity.
“I want to thank every one of my players,” said the Italian, whose selection had been shorn of the suspended Gary Cahill and Cesc Fàbregas, the injured Eden Hazard and Diego Costa, who is absent without leave in Brazil.
“They showed me great desire, great spirit, great will, great heart, great will to fight. I saw fighters in a moment that’s not easy for us with the suspensions and the injuries. We suffered during the game, but we were always dangerous in every moment.
“We know very well that a lot of teams improved if you compare with last season. But we have to concentrate on ourselves. It’s not important if we are not favourites in this league. It was the same last season.
“We know we are trying to improve our team, our squad, and the club is trying to do its best in the transfer market to try and improve the team and the squad. But I repeat, I’m very happy when I see this type of game. I’m not speaking about football, but this spirit, this heart, this desire.
“I must be satisfied because my players gave me everything today. They did the same last season. There will be more great difficulties in this season, but the only way we can get through these difficulties is to work.