Chelsea V Everton at Stamford Bridge : Match Preview

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04 November 2016
Chelsea V Everton - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Antonio Conte hails contribution of 'complete player' Diego Costa to Chelsea

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte insists he has no regrets over his failed pursuit of Romelu Lukaku and hailed in-form Diego Costa as the "complete player".

Costa leads the Premier League scoring charts with eight goals this season, while Lukaku, who Chelsea moved for in the summer, has found the back of the net on seven occasions. The two strikers will go up against one another on Saturday evening when Chelsea play host to Everton at Stamford Bridge.

Brazil-born Costa struggled for form and goals under former boss Jose Mourinho last season, leading the Blues to show an interest in the player whom they sold to Everton for B#28million in 2014.

But Costa, 28, has thrived under Conte at Chelsea this year, and his recent goal at Southampton was his 40th in the Premier League from 64 appearances.

Asked if he had any regrets over the failure to sign Lukaku in the summer, Conte replied. "Absolutely not. We have Diego who is playing fantastic football - not only scoring goals but working a lot and very well for the team.

"I think I am seeing a complete player in Diego. It is fantastic for me to have him in the team, and also because he is scoring a lot. Everybody is working a lot for the team and that is very important.

"Lukaku for sure is a very good player. He is young and improving a lot, but I am very satisfied with my players. In this case I hope Diego continues this way because his commitment is incredible."

Chelsea, fourth in the table, are four points and two places better off than their opponents after winning four successive matches. In contrast, Ronald Koeman's side have won just once from their last six games in all competitions.

But Chelsea failed to beat Everton in their three matches last term, and Conte, who hopes to have Cesc Fabregas and Kurt Zouma available for selection after the international break, believes the Toffees will provide his side with a challenging test.

"They are very dangerous," Conte added. "In the last season we never won against Everton and it is important to remember this for me, for my players, the club, the fans.

"We know that tomorrow we face a strong team with many good players - (they are) technical, fast, and we must pay great attention to them.

"We worked very well this week and we have prepared for this type of game against this type of team. We must know that tomorrow it will be a very tough game."

Everton winger Kevin Mirallas agrees with Koeman's assessment that he needs to be making a greater impact in the Toffees attack.

Mirallas has provided only one goal and one assist so far this term in 10 Premier League appearances.

Koeman emphasised before last Sunday's 2-0 home win against West Ham that he wanted to see more support for top-scorer Romelu Lukaku, who netted one goal in the game to take his tally for the season to seven, as well as producing his third assist of the campaign.

And Mirallas told evertonfc.com ahead of Saturday's league trip to Chelsea: "Personally, I need to create more, score more goals and get more assists.

"It is not easy and we need the whole team to help each other so we can improve even more.

"I have spoken to the manager and he has told me I have been playing well but he wants more, and I agreed.

"I have looked at my game, looked at situations when I need to dribble more, or pass or shoot more.

"This week I have been training hard because we know it's another big game."

Mirallas has scoring form against Chelsea, having netted in the last two seasons against them, in the dramatic 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge last term and the 6-3 home defeat in 2014-15.

He added: "If you score against the same team a couple of times, it is something that gives you confidence.

"And I like to play at Stamford Bridge. The stadium is nice, there is always a good pitch and our fans always create a very good atmosphere to support the team."

Goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg has recovered from a foot injury so is able to return to action after missing the West Ham game, in which Joel Robles deputised.

But defender Leighton Baines and midfielder James McCarthy remain unavailable due to hamstring problems.

Striker Arouna Kone (knee) is also not yet ready for action, and midfielder Idrissa Gueye will miss out as he serves a suspension.

On-loan forward Enner Valencia can make his comeback to the match-day squad after being ineligible last time out against parent club West Ham.

It remains to be seen whether Koeman restores captain Phil Jagielka to the team after dropping him to the bench and replacing him in central defence with Ramiro Funes Mori for Sunday's contest.


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