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Antonio Conte hails contribution of "complete player" Diego Costa to Chelsea

Published 04/11/2016

Chelsea's Diego Costa, pictured left, is highly rated by his coach Antonio Conte, right
Chelsea's Diego Costa, pictured left, is highly rated by his coach Antonio Conte, right

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte insists he has no regrets over his failed pursuit of Romelu Lukaku and hailed in-form Diego Costa as the "complete player".

Costa leads the Premier League scoring charts with eight goals this season, while Lukaku, who Chelsea moved for in the summer, has found the back of the net on seven occasions. The two strikers will go head to head against one another on Saturday evening when Chelsea play host to Everton at Stamford Bridge.

Brazil-born Costa struggled for form and goals under former boss Jose Mourinho last season, leading the Blues to show an interest in the player whom they sold to Everton for £28million in 2014.

But Costa, 28, has thrived under Conte at Chelsea this year, and his recent goal at Southampton was his 40th in the Premier League from 64 appearances.

Asked if he had any regrets over the failure to sign Lukaku in the summer, Conte replied. "Absolutely not. We have Diego who is playing fantastic football - not only scoring goals but working a lot and very well for the team.

"I think I am seeing a complete player in Diego. It is fantastic for me to have him in the team, and also because he is scoring a lot. Everybody is working a lot for the team and that is very important.

"Lukaku for sure is a very good player. He is young and improving a lot, but I am very satisfied with my players. In this case I hope Diego continues this way because his commitment is incredible."

Chelsea, fourth in the table, are four points and two places better off than their opponents after winning four successive matches. In contrast, Ronald Koeman's side have won just once from their last six games in all competitions.

But Chelsea failed to beat Everton in their three matches last term, and Conte, who hopes to have Cesc Fabregas and Kurt Zouma available for selection after the international break, believes the Toffees will provide his side with a challenging test.

"They are very dangerous," Conte added. "In the last season we never won against Everton and it is important to remember this for me, for my players, the club, the fans.

"We know that tomorrow we face a strong team with many good players - (they are) technical, fast, and we must pay great attention to them.

"We worked very well this week and we have prepared for this type of game against this type of team. We must know that tomorrow it will be a very tough game."

Costa meanwhile, refused to rule out that Fabregas, who has started just one league game this season, would leave the club on loan in January.

"I think for this type of situation it is too early to talk," Conte said.

"I repeat Fabregas is a Chelsea player and I am very happy to have him in my squad.

"Now it is important (for him) to recover very well and to find the right form, and come back with us and stay with the team."

Press Association

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