Conte explains Giroud’s importance to Chelsea

Written by on February 13, 2018

Antonio Conte feels Olivier Giroud could become an important player for Chelsea – both on the pitch and for strike rival Alvaro Morata.

Giroud provided an assist on his full debut in the Blues’ 3-0 win over West Brom, and missed a good chance for a goal too when he shot straight at Ben Foster from close range.

He was removed after an hour for Morata, who has not scored since Boxing Day but looked re-invigorated and perhaps stimulated by the new competition for his place.

“To have two strikers in contention for us is very important,” said Conte. “Giroud could become an important player and at the same time I had a good answer from Alvaro and we must be happy.

“We forced Giroud to play because we had Morata injured, and it was important to have a point of reference like him on the pitch.”

The win moved Chelsea back into the top four, and only three points off second-placed Manchester United, easing the pressure on Conte following back-to-back defeats by Bournemouth and Watford.

The Italian brushed off speculation over his future in the build-up to the game, and said the Blues would have to get used to batting off that kind of talk.

“We have to try to fight against the speculation,” he said. “The only way is to try to win, play good football and I think until the end we will continue to live with it. It’s not important for me.

“We are getting used to this kind of speculation and rumours. My players know very well what we have to do, now and in the future.”

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