By 90Min
February 13, 2018

Antonio Conte heaped praise on new signing Olivier Giroud as the Frenchman had a productive full debut for the Blues in their comfortable 3-0 win over West Brom.

The target man laid on the assist for Eden Hazard's first goal, and his overall play was excellent before being withdrawn on the hour mark. Giroud signed for the club from London rivals Arsenal last month, but had been a part of a team who had lost two on the trot in the Premier League prior to Monday's victory.

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Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Conte lauded his new man's efforts, saying: "We forced Giroud to play because we had (Alvaro) Morata injured, and it was important to have a point of reference like him on the pitch.

"To have two strikers in contention for us is very important. Giroud could become an important player and at the same time I had a good answer from Alvaro and we must be happy."

The Spaniard played his first game in nearly a month, coming off the bench with half an hour to play to a rapturous reception at Stamford Bridge.

The result was a much-needed three points for the champions, moving them back into the top four, just three points behind Manchester United in second, ahead of the trip to Old Trafford in just under two weeks time.

Eden Hazard was the star of the show, with the Belgian scoring twice to ease some of the pressure on his manager. 

When asked about the growing media speculation around his future, with Luis Enrique tipped to be in the frame, the Italian boss downplayed reports, noting: "We have to try to fight against the speculation."

Chelsea's attentions now turn to a pivotal fortnight in their season, with three games which could make or break Antonio Conte's future. Hosting Hull in the FA Cup on Friday night, the Blues welcome the gargantuan test of Barcelona in the Champions League last-16 next week, before a trip to face Jose Mourinho and United four days later.

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