Conte's Chelsea open season with narrow win

Antonio Conte made a successful start to his reign as Chelsea manager as his side pinched a 2-1 win over London rivals West Ham on Monday.

Diego Costa scored the winner just before the end of the 90 minutes at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea completed the first weekend of the new season.

"I think the team played a good game with a great intensity and spirit," the Italian told Sky Sports. 

"It is important to find the right spirit and intensity, we know we can improve and we must improve a lot, but today I am pleased for my players.

"The victory is deserved and now we have to prepare for the next game. From tomorrow we have to think to the next game."

Eden Hazard put Chelsea in front from the penalty spot early in the second half before James Collins equalized for West Ham with 13 minutes to go.

But Costa grabbed the winner late on to make Chelsea one of seven teams to win their opener, something captain John Terry said was important after their lowly 10th place finish last season.

"It is very important for us to get off to get off to a good start, we did not start off or finish well last year," Terry said. 

"That is the fight and commitment we want. We dug in in the London derby and that is great for the management.

"To ourselves, to our supporters and to our friends and family, we will slowly get there. The consistency is important, the winning start was vital."

The Spaniard was fortunate to still be on the pitch after he fouled West Ham goalkeeper Adrian, having already been given a yellow card.

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic admitted his side were outplayed for much of the contest.

"When you lose a game and concede late, of course you are disappointed," he said. 

"(But) apart from the first 15 minutes til we equalised, they were much better than us."

Bilic added: "They were better on the ball, in pressing and much more aggressive than us. They had the individual class of Eden Hazard, Diego Costa and Willian. 

"We came back into the game, we played well after 1-1 but we made the mistake in the middle of the park. We gave the ball away and conceded a cheap goal."

Last update: Tue, 16/08/2016 - 00:22

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