Antonio Conte happy as Chelsea respond to Tottenham with a victory
Antonio Conte has admitted revelling in Chelsea soaking up all the Premier League title-race pressure and delivering a crucial 3-1 victory at Bournemouth.
Eden Hazard's masterful finish and Marcos Alonso's curled free-kick killed off the Cherries, as leaders Chelsea cemented their seven-point advantage over second-placed Tottenham.
Chelsea now need 15 points from seven matches to seal the league crown, but Conte has warned his Blues that Tottenham will push the race to the wire.
Taskmaster Italian boss Conte hailed Chelsea for absorbing the pressure of Spurs' 4-0 lunchtime win over Watford by offering the perfect response at Dean Court.
"It wasn't easy to play this game after the win of Tottenham, but our reaction, our answer was very good," said Conte.
"We started the game very well, with good concentration and focus.
"That pressure, it's normal.
"It's normal that when you play after your opponent that you will see your opponent very close.
"You can feel a bit of the pressure, but it's normal.
"I'm very happy to face this type of situation, and to play with only four points from our opponent."
Former Italy boss Conte insisted he relishes the intense pressure surrounding Chelsea's tilt for the title - and even admitted he would crank up the heat on his players himself if necessary.
"I like the pressure, if I don't see pressure I put pressure," said Conte.
"Because I think under the pressure you get the best from yourself."
Hailing Chelsea's response in claiming two wins in a week after their 2-1 home defeat by Crystal Palace, Conte warned his players that Tottenham will never give up on the title.
"There are seven games to go, and we have a schedule that's not easy," said Conte.
"But it's important to go game by game, in this case after our defeat against Crystal Palace, we played Manchester City, and we could drop points, and today we could drop points also.
"Instead we won both games. We have to continue in this way game by game, to be focused and to concentrate.
"Because for sure Tottenham has great desire to win the title. And we must have the same desire.
"Don't forget Tottenham last season fought for the title until the end and it means that Tottenham are a really good team.
"Last season Chelsea finished 10th and now we are on top of the table.
"Tottenham are stronger than last season, it's important we understand this."
Diego Costa's Premier League goal drought stretched to four games, with the Spain hitman having only hit the net three times in the league since January.
Conte again defended his spearhead striker however, insisting the 28-year-old will come good if he keeps grafting hard.
"I'm happy for his performance," said Conte.
"In this moment Diego is not scoring but he's totally involved in the team and our football.
"He must continue to work in this way with great commitment, desire and work rate.
"And I'm sure he can score in every game."
Adam Smith's bizarre own goal floored Bournemouth from the off, though Joshua King did fire his 13th league goal of the season, albeit via a deflection.
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe hailed Chelsea's power, but also insisted his side had offered a good account in defeat.
"Chelsea are an outstanding team and their system works very well for them," said Howe.
"I thought we played very well but in the end Chelsea were too strong."