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EPL wins without Costa significant: Conte

Press Association logoPress Association 15/01/2017 Sean Taylor

Chelsea English Premier League manager Antonio Conte thinks it is important the Blues have demonstrated they can win without Diego Costa.

Chelsea extended their lead at the top of the Premier League to seven points with a comfortable 3-0 victory against Leicester on Saturday (Sunday AEDT), courtesy of two goals from Marcos Alonso and another from Pedro.

Following reports this week that Costa had a disagreement with the Chelsea boss and his coaching staff amid rumours of a big-money offer from a Chinese Super League club, the 28-year-old was left out of the squad at the King Power Stadium. However, Conte insisted his leading goal scorer did not travel because of a back problem.

Nevertheless, Chelsea made light work of Costa's absence as Eden Hazard played centrally, with Pedro and Willian either side of him - as they had done with equal success against Bournemouth on Boxing Day when Costa was suspended.

"I think it's important to have another plan, to play without a number nine is another solution. It is important," Conte said.

"We show it against Bournemouth and again we play without a number nine and we won the games 3-0 and 3-0. It is important always to play as a team and then to have a different solution is important for me and for the team.

"Also because sometimes it is important to change, you plan part way through a championship.

"Now we have started the second part of the season and every game now the points are very heavy, they mean a lot for all the teams. Now we stay on top of the table and if you win you put pressure on the other teams.

"But we started our game with a bit of pressure after Tottenham's victory and we must show good experience to manage this situation because we have just started the second part of the season and it is very important not to lose a point, to take three points in every game."

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