Belfast Telegraph

Nemanja Matic praises the impact of Chelsea boss Antonio Conte

Nemanja Matic believes Chelsea have discovered a winning mentality since Antonio Conte became manager.

Chelsea lost their 100 per record under Conte on Sunday in a controversial 2-2 Premier League draw at Swansea.

But midfielder Matic says Conte has changed the mood at Stamford Bridge following the turmoil of last season when Jose Mourinho was sacked in December and Chelsea finished 10th in the Premier League.

Asked about the difference in mind-set from last season, Matic told Chelsea TV: "Our mentality now is good. We are focused to be on fighting for the title.

"I think the coach did a great job and our mentality is a winning mentality.

"That's why we are sad with this game."

Chelsea appeared to be in cruise control after Diego Costa rewarded their superiority at the Liberty Stadium by firing them into a first-half lead.

But Swansea scored twice within three minutes after the break, the second coming in controversial circumstances after Leroy Fer seemed to foul Gary Cahill before beating Thibaut Courtois.

Cahill later criticised referee Andre Marriner by saying "you could be sat on the moon and see it's a clear foul", and Matic also said the goal should not have stood.

"The second one was a foul against Gary Cahill which the referee did not probably see," Matic said after Costa's second goal nine minutes from time salvaged a point for Chelsea.

"It is difficult to say something after this game because I think we played very well, especially in the first half when we dominate.

"We should kill the game by the second goal and we concede two goals in the second half.

"One point we are not happy of course, you can see from the first half we expected more. But this is football and they scored two goals.

"I can not say from nothing but they didn't expect, and we didn't expect also, that we would concede two goals in a short time.

"But we have to be ready for the next game to forget this. See where we made some mistakes, see what we did well to continue like this."

Swansea skipper Jack Cork welcomed the point after defeats to Hull and Leicester and ahead of a daunting run of league fixtures.

The Swans travel to Southampton on Sunday before home games against Manchester City and Liverpool and a trip to Arsenal.

But Cork said: "Playing against the bigger teams seems to suit us better.

"I think it's because the pressure comes off us.

"This was always going to be a tough period, but if we can get a few points from these next few tough games it will be a big bonus for the games after.

"We showed a bit of passion and fight in the second half and, hopefully, that's what we can produce for the rest of the season.

"We needed to get going after Hull and Leicester and not lose three on the bounce.

"We played without any fear in the second half and showed that we can play better."


From Belfast Telegraph