Costa ends goal drought as Chelsea open up 7-point lead

Ross Houston
April 27, 2017

Buoyant Chelsea extended their Premier League lead to seven points yesterday, as goals from Eden Hazard, captain Gary Cahill and two from a buzzing Diego Costa earned them a 4-2 win over Southampton.

"Tonight it was a big win for us", Conte declared.

"It was a better performance than against Manchester City [a 3-0 defeat in Southampton's previous match]", he told a post-match news conference. After a rampant first season in England in 2014/15 when he scored 20 league goals for Chelsea, Costa was among the players who most openly clashed with then manager Jose Mourinho last season and angry fans booed him after Mourinho was sacked.

Southampton manager Claude Puel on the importance of Oriol Romeu: "I think he's not far off [N'Golo] Kante".

Chelsea's prospects of a double in Conte's first season in charge remain alive, with 12 points needed from the final five games to clinch the league title before the May 27 FA Cup final with Arsenal. But the other competition, the league, is totally open. We must know that, now, it's a good season.

On Costa's return to form, Costa added: 'It's normal for the strikers, for the forwards, that it is important to score. "The goals are their life. For this reason I must be pleased".

"We lost last weekend against a great team and for the rest of the season, it is always good to have the confidence up".

"We will see for the future, we are confident in him and, for me, he can look to getting in the selection with Spain, for example".

The success takes Chelsea seven points clear of second-placed Tottenham, who confront notify Crystal Palace on Wednesday, and England defender Cahill - who missed out on the FA Cup semifinal triumph over Tottenham through sickness - understands the title has become securely inside the Blues' hold. I think it's the right way for me, for the players, to be always together during different moments: positive or negative moments. These are the most important things for us. Mentally we have had a really important test.

The Chelsea star is just five behind Ronaldo's La Liga tally this term, however, he is a hefty 17 league goals behind Barcelona's El Clasico hero, Messi. He recovers the ball so well and is a technical player. But I'm pleased for the great effort, the fantastic effort of my players.

"We've got six very hard games home and away so we'll do everything we can to get as high up the league as we can".

"He scored two very important but also attractive goals, with good combination and technique between him and his teammates".

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