Gary Cahill's 87th-minute effort sent Chelsea 13 points clear at the Premier League summit with a 2-1 victory over Stoke City in a tempestuous encounter at the bet365 Stadium.
Antonio Conte joked that he might consider playing Gary Cahill as a striker after the England worldwide netted a vital late goal in Chelsea's 2-1 win over Stoke City to preserve the Blues' 10-point lead at the top of the Premier League.
Pedro said: "When he plays well, the team plays well".
Erik Pieters has taken the blame for the 2-1 loss to Chelsea, a loss, Mark Hughes believes has handed Chelsea the title.
He said: "Cesc is showing he has a great impact for us. 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".
Clearly concerned with Stoke's aerial threat, Conte favoured Matic over Fabregas this time and Chelsea missed the latter's poise as well as his vision in the opening minutes, with passes going astray and spells of possession more mechanical and less imaginative than usual. It was a little bit feisty, we gave everything and i can not criticise our players.
It must have felt like a defining triumph for Conte because, on a day when he was without his injured talisman Eden Hazard, the runaway leaders, while not at their scintillating best, dug in to prevail in a mental and physical battle at the home of their feisty opponents.
And now the brilliant wide man is facing having to pull out of the Belgium squad for the matches against Greece and Russian Federation over the worldwide break. It's important to be focused, because we have two games at home against Crystal Palace and Manchester City. "Today was a great win, a good signal, but it is important to continue with the same commitment and work rate as a team", he told the BBC.
A win will let Chelsea extend their lead at the top of the table until Sunday, at least. I hope to finish the season in the right way and to try to win (trophies).
"They trust our football, in our idea". The 53-year-old appeared to suggest that referee Anthony Taylor had made an incorrect decision, while Hughes also defended his player's aggressive handling of Blues striker Diego Costa. Great will to fight.