Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte heaped praise on Tiemoue Bakayoko after the £40m midfielder went some way to silencing his critics as the Blues returned to winning ways at Huddersfield.
Bakayoko, who was hauled off at half-time as Chelsea lost at West Ham on Saturday, opened the scoring, while further strikes from the impressive Willian and Pedro rendered Laurent Depoitre’s consolation largely irrelevant.
Victory moved third-placed Chelsea level on points with Manchester United in second, while Huddersfield, who have lost five of their last six Premier League matches after a promising start, remain 12th, five points clear of relegation.
“He [Bakayoko] played a really good game,” said Conte. “This guy is a young player with great potential and he is starting to understand what I want. Tonight he played a really good game, with and without the ball, and was always focused.
“Maybe tonight I saw the best performance from Baka and I started to see what I ask. To find the right passing between the line, be solid and I am very pleased for him. I am not worried about him. He is showing me to have the right desire and will improve.”
Maximum points edged Chelsea closer to Manchester City, although the Blues still trail the runaway leaders, who have a game in hand, by 11. Conte reiterated his belief that Chelsea are out of the title race.
“When you have a competitor like Manchester City that is winning it is very difficult to think you can win the title,” added Conte. “It doesn’t mean that we’re not going to try to catch them.”
Bakayoko’s clipped finish over Huddersfield goalkeeper Jonas Lossl was added to by Willian’s back-post header and Pedro’s effort from 15 yards, before substitute Depoitre’s header.
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