Conte: Great character
Antonio Conte says Chelsea’s players must show the same spirit as they did in the second half of our comeback victory over Southampton in every game between now and the end of the season.
Three goals in eight second-half minutes was a brilliant response to going two goals behind at St Mary’s Stadium, after an opening period the manager felt was well below par.
‘In the first half I was very disappointed for the way we were playing and the spirit we were showing in the game,’ he said. ‘In the second half I saw the right fight in the eyes of my players. I saw the desire to come back, despite a difficult scoreline, because when you are 2-0 down it is not simple. We must be pleased with that.
‘We have to try to finish the season in the best possible way, and in every game we have to show great enthusiasm, great patience, great character, great spirit and great desire to try to fight for this team and for our fans.
‘In the first half we didn’t do this, and I am the first person to take responsibility for this because I am the coach of this team. In the second half we showed a great reaction, and I hope from now until the end to see this fire in the eyes of my players in every game. The most important thing for us is that in the second half I saw the right reaction from my players.’
The Blues will face the Saints again in our FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Sunday, after Thursday’s Premier League trip to Burnley, and the message from the Italian is clear.
‘The players must play like this in every game, not for me, but for the club. They must have great respect for the fans. They have to play for the club, for our fans, and to show great character like they did in this game. This is the best possible way for a player to show they are a fantastic professional.’