The Blues boss thinks that his striker contributes even when he doesn’t score and thinks that he won’t be fazed by a temporary lack of goals
Diego Costa hasn’t scored in his last four games for Chelsea but Antonio Conte believes that his number one striker is still contributing and that he will be back amongst the goals.
Goal revealed that Costa’s form has dipped since he received an offer from Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian in January, but the 28-year-old has remained integral to Conte’s plans and he has started in almost every league game.
Conte thinks that a drop in form can naturally happen at any point in a season but thinks that Costa will score soon and he is happy with his overall contribution to Chelsea’s title charge.
“No, I’m not concerned about this,” Conte said at a news conference at Cobham Training Centre. “Yeah, it can happen. It can happen. For me, the most important thing is he is showing me great commitment and behaviour during the games, and is doing what I want.
“That’s very important. He was also unlucky in a lot of circumstances. But a player like Diego Costa can score in every game, and I’m sure he can do this. His experience. His character. His personality.
“That’s very important for us and the team. Also, Diego won in the past and he has good experience. The goals are very important for the forwards, but I think he knows that, for us, he’s an important player if he is scoring or if he isn’t. He must continue with his commitment and then I’m sure he’ll score.”
Chelsea have eight crucial games left in the Premier League as they aim to secure win the title ahead of their rivals Tottenham, who remain seven points behind the league leaders.
Conte thinks that Chelsea would be unwise to underestimate Saturday’s opponents Bournemouth and hopes his side can continue to show their ruthless side to win points.
“I think in these situations, you must show a winning mentality,” he added. “A winning mentality is to face every game with the same concentration, with the same intensity, the same desire to fight if you play against a top team or if you play against a team who are fighting in the relegation zone.
“These are the best way to face these situations. It’s about a winning mentality, and it’s not easy to have this. For sure, the situation is different when you are a player or a manager. But I’m lucky.
“Lucky because I lived these two situations in both roles, as a manager and as a player. I can give advice to my players. But I think I have players who lived in the past this type of situation. They know the right way to face this.”
Conte will come up against Eddie Howe for the second time this season, after winning their first meeting at Stamford Bridge 3-0, and he thinks that his opposite number can one day manage a bigger side.
“I think that, in England, there are really good managers. Why not, if you deserve to manage a good club, why not [go for an Englishman]? There are big examples in the past. That could happen again in the future.”
“I think the manager, Bournemouth’s manager, can be a good profile to become a manager of a great team. Yes.”