ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
LONDON • Chelsea lifted Antonio Conte's spirits ahead of the crucial final days of the transfer window as goals from Cesc Fabregas and Alvaro Morata sealed a comfortable 2-0 victory over woeful Everton in the Premier League yesterday.
Conte has spent the last few weeks grumbling about Chelsea's failure to land his top transfer targets. And with the window closing on Thursday, the Blues boss is hoping to bolster his depleted squad with several signings.
Against that troubled backdrop, it was essential Chelsea signed off before the international break with three points to keep in touch with Premier League pace setters Manchester United.
The champions achieved that with ease as Fabregas opened the scoring in the first half at Stamford Bridge before Morata bagged his second goal since his club-record £58 million (S$101.3 million) move from Real Madrid.
The Blues have won two in a row following their shock opening-day defeat against Burnley, but they would not have many less demanding victories than this one against a lethargic Everton side who barely broke sweat.
The Chelsea manager expressed his delight with how his team dominated the game.
"We created many chances. I saw a lot of positive things. We must be pleased," the Italian said at a post-match conference.
"Everton are a strong team. They've played three games in seven days, and it's not easy.
"But in this case you must be really focused and to try and play the game in the right way, and I think we did this."
He also reiterated that he hopes to see new signings within the next few days.
"There are four days to go in the transfer market. I think the club is working very hard to try and improve our squad," he said.
"Don't forget when we start next month we have to play seven games and I need to rotate my players."
The Toffees' first league defeat of the season was a frustrating end to what had been a positive week for Ronald Koeman's men after they drew at Manchester City and qualified for the Europa League group stages.
The manager blamed it on his players not retaining the ball well, especially before the half-time interval.
"I am disappointed with the first half because our ball possession was poor. We did not have enough movement to give options," Koeman said.
"Against Chelsea, you need to be at your best to get a result and we weren't. The second half was better but we lost it in the first."