Chelsea’s manager Antonio Conte said he and Alvaro Morata were grateful that Chelsea’s travelling fans had changed the words of their chant about the Spanish striker.
Speaking after Morata’s hat-trick at Stoke had earned Chelsea their biggest win of the season, Conte said he was pleased Chelsea’s supporters had cut out the anti-Semitic references to their chant. The basis of the song is that “Morata comes from sunny Spain. He’s better than Harry Kane.”
Given that Morata has now scored six times in as many Premier League games that is an argument that holds water but the anti-Semitic references to Tottenham were absent in the Bet 365 Stadium.
“Our fans were fantastic today and don’t forget in this stadium the crowd push a lot,” Conte said after a win that cemented Chelsea’s position in third place before they travel to Madrid for their Champions League fixture with Atletico. “I want to thank our fans. They helped the team a lot today. It was a good chant and I am pleased.”
His counterpart, Mark Hughes, argued that Chelsea’s 4-0 victory flattered the champions and was the result of his own team’s ‘catastrophic defending’. Morata may have finished beautifully but the Stoke manager pointed out that the Spaniard had been helped by Stoke’s own defenders. A groin injury to Bruno Martins Indi ensured Stoke finished the afternoon without a specialist centre-half and Morata duly capitalised to score twice late on.
Given that Arsenal had lost at the Bet 365 Stadium already and Manchester United had dropped two points here earlier in the month, the result was an emphatic statement of Chelsea’s title credentials.
“The story of our game is that when you go up against a side of the quality of Chelsea you have to make sure you don’t have these catastrophic defensive moments and we had at least three,” Hughes said. “It wasn’t helped by Bruno Martins Indi coming off, which means that apart from Kurt Zouma (who was ineligible for this game) we have no central defenders and that is going to be very tough.
“We made the worst possible start and at 2-0 Chelsea do what they do. They are a reflection of their manager. The referee allowed them to stop the game, take away all momentum and he made a call with Marcos Alonso who in my opinion could have been sent off. Their manager agreed with me because he substituted him within moments of the offence. I think the last two goals embellished the result.”