Stoke Boss Mark Hughes Disappointed at Late Defeat to 'Champions Elect' Chelsea

Stoke Boss Mark Hughes Disappointed at Late Defeat to 'Champions Elect' Chelsea

And it was no coincidence that one of the first players Conte wanted to hail was Diego Costa, his famously tempestuous striker who, having received an early booking, kept his discipline - just about - under considerable provocation in the Stoke furnace.

The Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte, whose side is now 13 points clear at the top of the Premier League with 10 matches to play, said he thought Stoke had deliberately targeted Costa in order to draw a reaction.

"United have got a tough run of fixtures, and still have to play Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea and City".

Despite not getting on the scoresheet, he also gave Stoke's defensive line plenty of trouble, leading to Conte giving props to his player for doing his job.

Crystal Palace moved closer to preserving their Premier League status by earning their third successive victory with 1-0 home win over Watford, while Romelu Lukaku struck a late double as Everton's challenge to join the top-four battle strengthened with a 4-0 rout of relegation-haunted Hull City for a sixth successive home win.

"He has good quality, acrobatic qualities, and he's very good, very strong during the corners and set-pieces".

"Nobody makes it easy - it is always hard to play here".

"We didn't target Costa, he targeted our players if anything", said Hughes.

"We're disappointed, t his is a game we'd highlighted as one we thought we could get something out of", Grant told Stoke's official YouTube channel. "When you want to try and take three points, you try to change".

"When I arrived as a new coach in a new team, you must know your players and have a bit of time to understand the habits and then to bring them to your idea - but also to show them that your idea is a positive". "We have to look at ourselves".

'It is a hard moment to remember this because me and all the players we celebrated a great win. "We were ready to fight and I'm pleased with this".