Antonio Conte says he is telling Alvaro Morata to ‘keep calm’ following difficult night against Arsenal

Miguel Delaney
The Independent
The Chelsea boss has thrown his support behind the striker: Getty
The Chelsea boss has thrown his support behind the striker: Getty

Antonio Conte says that he is just telling Alvaro Morata to “keep calm” as the striker goes through an “unlucky period”, culminating in a difficult night in front of goal during Chelsea’s chaotic 2-2 draw at Arsenal.

The Spanish striker squandered three one-on-ones, following on from two he missed in the 5-0 win over Stoke City on Saturday, and has scored just twice in the last seven games. Conte admitted he is not on his best form and that he probably needs a goal, but still praised the work of Morata and revealed he had reassured him “the goal is coming”.

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“The only thing I can tell him is to continue to work, to stay calm and to continue to work this way for the team,” Conte said after the match at the Emirates, where the 25-year-old wasted a chance to win the game in the final moments.

“If he continues to work in this way, the chances arrive for him and the other players. I repeat I understand for a striker it’s not easy if you don’t score, but don’t forget for Alvaro it’s his first season playing regularly. He didn’t always play with Real Madrid and Juventus. You have to know this. I’m very happy with his commitment and the way he’s playing. He has to stay calm continue to play this way. The goal is coming.

“It’s not a lucky period for him. Yeah, in the last game against Stoke City, I said it’s very important for the striker to have the chance to score. Today, I think he had the chances to score, but this is football and I’m very happy for his commitment and effort for the team. For sure, for a striker it’s very important to score as if you score your confidence goes up, and if you don’t your confidence can go down.

He’s very young, he has to work, he will see the goal coming.”

Conte meanwhile said that while the match against Arsenal was “exciting” for supporters, it was impossible for the managers to enjoy.

“I think this game was an exciting game for people watching, less for us. When you’re winning 2-1 with two minutes to go you have to win the game, especially against a great team like Arsenal. The final result is a good result – a draw against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium is a good result – but at the end of the game there’s a lot of disappointment. We created enough chances to win the game.

“I know my players and there is a lot of disappointment. We win together, we draw and lose together. My feeling is the same as my players.

It was a good performance, with a good intensity. It was an exciting game, but at the same time I’m disappointed with the final result. It was very important to get three points today.”

Conte also struck a completely different note to Arsene Wenger as regards the referees, even though both had cause for complaint. While Wenger bitterly complained about the decision to award Eden Hazard a penalty from a Hector Bellerin challenge, the Chelsea manager had no issue with the call that already-booked Jack Wilshere had not dived shortly before the game’s first goal.

“I must be honest I didn’t see the penalty. I didn’t see the dive of Wilshere. Another journalist asked me if Wilshere should have continued in the game or got a second yellow card. I didn’t see this so don’t want to comment. We must have respect for the decisions of the referee. There’s frustration for coaches, but we must accept the referee’s decisions.”

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