Former Blues forward Salomon Kalou has announced that he is backing Diego Costa to push Chelsea to the Premier League title for the 2016/17 season. Although the 31-year-old now plays for German team Hertha Berlin, he spent six years at Stamford Bridge, where the Blues won seven major honours including the Champions League title. Speaking of the team and its new management, the Ivorian player believes that Antonio Conte has driven Costa in particular since his arrival in the summer.
Speaking to Goal, Kalou said that although Costa did well last season under Jose Mourinho, he didn’t quite have the same quality last year as he does now on the pitch and needed new motivation, which Conte has brought.
Premier League Winners?
Kalou knows who he will be placing his bets on this season, saying that if Diego Costa is a top scorer, it’s likely that the Blues will win the league. If you’re planning to back the Blues as the winners too, you can find enhanced odds here. However, he went on to say that Conte may be carrying the team with Costa, and although he is an important player, the new Blues manager will want the whole team to be amazing.
He said: ‘When the team plays amazing, it’s easy for him to go forward and score’. Speaking about his hopes and predictions for the Blues, he made it quite clear that he is sure that Chelsea can win the league. He praised the team for starting off very strong and showing that they have great character and can fight for the title. For Chelsea, this has been no easy feat – the team have come back from last season where they had a rough experience and shown that they still have that winning streak.
The ex-Blues forward still considers himself to be a Chelsea fan, and has remained in touch with players in the dressing room. From this, he says he has observed a huge difference in the West London team, now under the new management of Antonio Conte.
Kalou had only good things to say about the new manager, describing him as a great coach – something that the Hertha Berlin player has seen first hand both at Juventus and with the national Italian football team. Speaking of Conte’s abilities to manage Chelsea, he said that he ‘never worried’, and that ‘you have to say he is a great coach who is doing a great job with Chelsea’. Compared to previous seasons, Kalou says that it’s clear that Chelsea are doing very well under their new management.
Conte has got them playing great football, he says, not conceding goals and striving to improve game by game so that it’s easy to be positive when looking at just how well the Blues, who are currently in the lead, are doing this season.
Furthermore, Chelsea star Pedro has also praised Antonio Conte, saying that the manager is ‘just as good’ as Pep Guardiola, whom Pedro says he ‘owes a huge debt to’ when it comes to his talent on the pitch. After just four months of working with Conte, Pedro believes that his new boss deserves just as much appreciation as his previous manager. Indeed, Chelsea players and fans alike are thrilled with the results for the Blues this season, with Conte leading the team forward to the top of the table and revolutionising their style of play at the same time.
Conte has managed to get the best out of even the players who disappointed last season, with the new 3-4-3 formation proving useful for top players Diego Costa, Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois and even Pedro himself.
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