Conte: Chelsea's poor first-half showing my fault

Monday, 16 Apr, 2018

2-3, min. 78, Giroud. Replays showed Mike Dean must have seen the incident and how the Spaniard escaped a card of any sort was very surprising.

Southampton manager Mark Hughes now faces a desperately hard fight to keep his team in the Premier League. The homers maintained the lead till the end of the first half and on resumption of hostilities in the second half increased the tally in the 60th minute.

Substitute Olivier Giroud revealed that he urged Chelsea team-mate Eden Hazard not to give up against Southampton before the duo combined to complete a 3-2 comeback win at Southampton yesterday.

Southampton had got off to a ideal start thanks to a former Chelsea player as Ryan Bertrand burst past Cesar Azpilicueta before squaring for Tadic to apply a simple finish. In danger of relegation, Southampton came out fighting, out-muscled Chelsea and pressured with energy and commitment.

And as for the great controversy of the match, when Marcos Alonso raked his studs down Shane Long's calf in a risky challenge and the cry went up for a red card, Conte pleads ignorance.

Conte admits their performance in the opening 45 minutes was not good enough, but was delighted with the response he got after the break, as the west Londoners successfully overturned a two-goal deficit for the first time in the Premier League since 2002.

Courtois was left exposed by his defence moments later when Ward-Prowse's free-kick found Bednarek completely unmarked at the back post to half-volley expertly across the goal and into the far corner.

Chelsea were back in the contest in the 70th minute, however, when Giroud, who had not always been on the field, headed a Marcos Alonso cross into the bottom corner of the net.

Less than 10 minutes after coming off the bench just past the hour, Frenchman Giroud met Marcus Alonso's cross for his first goal. Willian managed to engineer a yard of space against Cedric and flashed the ball across the box where Hazard brilliantly killed it dead first time and sent it rocketing towards the top corner of the net, leaving the goalkeeper with no chance. When Southampton showed a weakness, Chelsea went for the jugular and banged in three goals in nine minutes.

The hosts nearly found an equaliser late on through Josh Sims, but his shot was parried by Courtois at the near post and Chelsea would hold on for all three points.

The result left Chelsea FC in fifth place in the Premier League table and seven points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur as they try and catch Spurs before the season is out.