Antonio Conte reassures Chelsea supporters that Diego Costa is saving his goals for 'the finale of the season'

Miguel Delaney
Costa has been struggling for goals in his last few matches: Getty

Antonio Conte has promised that Diego Costa is keeping all his goals for “the finale of the season”, as he also implored his Chelsea players to enjoy what has been an increasingly tense run-in.

The Premier League leaders play in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Saturday, against the rampant Tottenham Hotspur team that have cut the gap at the top of the table to just four points.

That has happened as the previously free-scoring Costa has stopped striking to the same degree, having now gone six games in all competitions without a goal, and hit just three in his last 13.

The Italian has not yet given up on Costa (Getty)

Conte however played down any anxiety about this, having earlier in the day dismissed the latest speculation about the Spanish striker potentially going to China at the end of the season.

“I think he is keeping the goals for the finale of the season,” the Italian smiled. “It is the right moment, yeah, to score.”

Costa was one of many players to look below their previous level in last week’s meek 2-0 defeat to Manchester United, that has so put the pressure on Chelsea.

It opens the possibility of any FA Cup defeat to Spurs being doubly costly, because of how it will both cost them a trophy, but also hand all initiative and momentum to Mauricio Pochettino’s in the title race.

In what seemed a message to his players as much as a response to media questions, however, Conte said that his side must enjoy the situation.

“Yeah, but the pressure is normal. The pressure is normal in our job," Conte said.

Conte says his side are coping with the pressure (Getty)

"When you arrive at the end of the season and you are in a good position to reach a good target, or a fantastic target - because a good target is to reach the Champions League; a fantastic, extraordinary target is to win the league - it’s normal to have this pressure, but I prefer to have this pressure instead of fighting for sixth, seventh, eighth place and to have this pressure.

“I think that we have to enjoy this moment. Because this moment is great for everyone. For me, that is the first season, for my players because they worked a lot to arrive at this point in the season and to have this kind of game, the semi-final, to have these games to win the title.

“I think we have to enjoy this moment, to be compact, to help each other, to live with joy this moment because I repeat, if we think where we started this season, I think every one of us [would have] signed [on] to have this situation now.”

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