Belfast Telegraph

Hull City 0 Chelsea 2: Alonso is happy to repay Conte's faith by shoring up Blues defence

By Mark Staniforth

Marcos Alonso gave a glimpse into Antonio Conte's plan to turn Chelsea back into Premier League title contenders with a pivotal role in his side's 2-0 win at Hull on Saturday.

Alonso was favoured over Branislav Ivanovic in a new-look three-man defensive formation which, despite an uneasy start, ultimately served up the Blues' second clean sheet of the season.

It was the Spaniard's first league start for the club since his deadline day signing from Fiorentina and a major gamble by Conte after successive top-flight defeats to Liverpool and Arsenal.

But according to Alonso, concentration was key in the way his side overcame a disappointing first-half performance to ease to victory with goals from Willian and Diego Costa.

Alonso said: "It's the first game I've started in the Premier League for Chelsea, we got three points and a clean sheet so I'm very happy. We've been conceding a lot of goals and against Hull we were concentrated for 90 minutes and kept a clean sheet so that was good."

Conte may have been questioning his decision in the early stages when the exposed David Luiz gave away a free-kick from which Robert Snodgrass almost opened the scoring.

His rearguard looked anything but resolute in the opening stages but in the second half Chelsea were rarely troubled with Willian picking up a pass from Costa before bending a delicious 61st-minute opener past Hull keeper David Marshall.

And just six minutes later the home challenge was effectively over when Costa himself got on the scoresheet with a similar goal from the left side of the box.

Conte said: "We have different options and it's normal that all the players must be involved - young players and older players.

"Chelsea are a great team and I tried to choose the best. Together we will win and lose, but it is important to work together and to trust and to follow."

Belfast Telegraph


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