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Pardew Praises Chelsea's Defensive Display

17 December 2016

Alan Pardew was full of praise for Chelsea's defensive display as their solid backline kept Crystal Palace at bay as the Blues edged a 1-0 win at Selhurst Park.

Diego Costa's 43rd minute goal was enough to separate the sides as the league leaders kept a 10th clean sheet of the campaign to extend heir lead at the top of the table.

The Palace boss lauded Antonio Conte's side for staying strong at the back, while producing a moment of quality to score the only goal of the game, and in his post-match press conference he talked about a number of issues, including:

The game: “Today was always going to be very difficult and what we reviewed about Chelsea they didn’t disappoint. They were sound defensively and didn’t really give us any chance to get at them as much as we would have liked, and offensively we have done well recently but they were confident in their defending and had a good shape and discipline. They did just enough offensively to edge it.”

Costa’s winning goal: “The disappointing part of the goal was that we didn’t get enough pressure on the centre-half [Azpilicueta], but then again you don’t expect him to hit a ball of that quality. It’s almost the perfect pass to undo us and Costa has the presence to deliver that finish. 

“It was a shame because we did enough in the first half to come in 0-0 and we had a big chance before that with Puncheon, but I’m not going to take anything away from Chelsea. I think my team tried everything today but they were just too good defensively.”

Sticking with his tactics: “We need to keep with our principles and we handled the system well but they have great players playing well. They weren’t as brilliant as they have been going forward than in other games, but defensively and the goalie put in some strong performances.

“My message to the team is that we can improve and take some lessons from Chelsea’s defensive display today, but we need to make sure we don’t come away from commitment and the effort we put in, and no-one can doubt that today.”

Conceding at crucial points: “It was unfortunate for us to concede a goal of that quality at the time, and obviously the Man Utd goal [around the same time in the game] was disallowed, but they’re blows. That happens and you have to overcome that.”

Looking ahead: “The next game is Watford and we have to start looking towards that, and that’s how we’ve got to work - each game is an opportunity to get some points on the board. We’ve had some difficult fixtures in this first half of the season at home, and it’s our home form that we need to improve in the second half of the season if we’re going to climb up this league.”

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