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Conte lauds Chelsea's "will to win" after late triumph at Stoke

19 March 2017

It was a world away from last season's match at this same stadium which represented perhaps the nadir of Chelsea's ill-fated title defence when their then manager, Jose Mourinho, who had been handed a stadium ban, had to watch from a nearby hotel as they lost 1-0 and slumped to 16th in the table.

Runaway Premier League leaders Chelsea continued their relentless progress, moving 13 points clear at the top of the table as Gary Cahill scored a late victor in a hard-earned and feisty 2-1 win at Stoke City on Saturday.

"It is Chelsea's title now and you could see from their celebrations we ran them close", Hughes said in quotes reported by the BBC.

"It was a very evenly matched game".

"It was tough, they wanted to frustrate us and we didn't try to get sucked too much into the battle because it wouldn't have suited us". I'm pleased with the performance.

"We have given a good account against the champions elect".

"I think that [result] will make everyone think it's Chelsea's title now", he added.

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The goal increased Chelsea's wait for a Premier League clean sheet to six games, but the visitors nearly provided an immediate response when Pedro fired over from a rebound after seeing his initial shot blocked.

"We didn't do that, absolutely not", he insisted. "We got the details of the game wrong on a couple of occasions and good teams can punish you, which Chelsea are".

Having earlier conceded a penalty, Gary Cahill fired in an 87th-minute victor at the bet365 Stadium to spark wild celebrations among the Blues' players and staff at a venue where a loss last November dropped them to 16th in the table.

"We kept on going, kept on moving the ball but there was a suggestion for a red card for our penalty".

Hughes was also disappointed with referee Anthony Taylor's decision to disallow Bruno Martins indi's first-half header.

"At this point of the season to have 10 points - now we have 13 points - but I like to think, I don't like but I put that our opponent could win tomorrow and come back against to 10 points".

Conte lauds Chelsea's