Published: Sun, September 24, 2017
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Conte hails potential 'great striker' Morata after Chelsea hat-trick

Conte hails potential 'great striker' Morata after Chelsea hat-trick

Chelsea remain three points behind leaders Manchester City, who they play at Stamford Bridge in what could be one of the season's formative games next Saturday. Morata may have finished beautifully but the Stoke manager pointed out that the Spaniard had been helped by Stoke's own defenders. "Stoke are a really good team and very strong", said the Italian. He did not get it, with Morata rounding off the win in the final quarter-hour.

"It is a hard moment for me because I would love to play in this game, it is a big occasion against a top side and everybody wants to play in these occasions".

Morata's goals will surely now end all talk of Costa, who has dominated much of Chelsea's narrative this year.

Stoke, which was fielding a makeshift defense with Kurt Zouma ineligible and Ryan Shawcross and Kevin Wimmer out injured, is 15th in the table having recorded just win in its opening six games.

Again Stoke rallied, but Maxim Choupo-Moting was unable to turn a corner home from close range, before Mame Biram Diouf's acrobatic overhead kick flashed wide before the interval.

Stoke have lost more Premier League games (14) and conceded more goals (42) against Chelsea than they have against any other side in the competition.

Mark Hughes is attempting to alter perceptions at Stoke City by moving the club away from the old image of long ball and overly physical tactics, but this defeat against Chelsea showed there is still a place for some of the more one-dimensional thinking.

"Don't forget, we won together last season. I can not be too disappointed given the circumstances, we had a good go at it but they had too much quality in the end to take it away from us".

They brushed aside an under-strength Potters side, who paid for some costly defensive errors as Morata scored early and then twice late on to take his season's tally to seven goals in six games for club and country.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte says that his relationship with Diego Costa is "not important" following the striker's exit for Atletico Madrid.

The hat-trick was the first by a Chelsea player in the Premier League since Costa's in September 2014, but the second in a week for the Blues after Michy Batshuayi's treble in England's domestic EFL Cup against Nottingham Forest last Wednesday.

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