Conte hails a year to remember for Chelsea


With Manchester City running away with the league title, the race for the top four is very much on and the fact that the Blues overtook second-placed Manchester United momentarily will give their fans plenty to cheer for as 2017 comes to a close. "I will remember this year in my mind forever".

While both sides rotated their squads after a hectic series of fixtures, Chelsea maintained their quality on the pitch in a scintillating opening half-hour, racing into a 3-0 lead and effectively winning the match through goals from Antonio Rudiger, Danny Drinkwater and Pedro.

"I am very happy because I made some rotation changes today and when you have this type of response from your players you must be pleased", Conte said.

"We managed the game well".

But Conte, who himself rested Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and Tiemoue Bakayoko, insists rotation is inevitable during the draining Christmas schedule.

In addition, Conte was able to take off Victor Moses, N'Golo Kante and Alvaro Morata, all by the 71st minute, to rest their legs ahead of the visit to Arsenal on Wednesday.

More news: British woman Laura Plummer jailed in Egypt for carrying painkillers
More news: Baltimore Couple Among Five Killed In Florida Plane Crash
More news: Parents Angry While Ivanka Trump Surprises Visit Connecticut High School

"We are showing good solidity. We've scored less, but we've conceded less, too".

The scoring slowed down a bit after that with Pedro adding another before the break and further second-half efforts from Willian and Davide Zappacosta making sure of the points.

By contrast, Stoke's team selection suggested manager Mark Hughes was prioritising Monday's New Year's Day game at home to fellow strugglers Newcastle United. Ryan Shawcross, Glen Johnson, Erik Pieters and Bruno Martins Indi were injured, while Kurt Zouma was unavailable because of the terms of his loan deal.

"The decisions weren't easy, but they were decisions I was prepared to make".

Egyptian superstar, Mohamed Salah, got the two goals that sealed the victory for the Reds.