'He showed great character' - Conte impressed by Morata's return to scoring form

Alvaro Morata - cropped
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The striker's first goal of 2018 will prove "very important" moving forward, according to the Chelsea manager

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte hailed the "character" of Alvaro Morata to overcome his long scoring drought in the FA Cup quarter-final win against Leicester City.

Spain striker Morata broke the deadlock with a well-taken finish in the 42nd minute as last season's beaten finalists prevailed 2-1 in extra time.

It was his first goal in 2018, marking a successful return to the starting XI after being overlooked for the last three matches.

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The 25-year-old came close to a second on a couple of occasions and won praise for his all-around display.

"For Alvaro, it was important to score but I am pleased for his performance," Conte told reporters.

"He showed great character and to be strong. I think his goal will be very important for the future."

Chelsea, who were beaten by Arsenal in the 2017 decider, were favourably drawn with Premier League strugglers Southampton in the semi-finals.

Conte, however, rejected the idea of being in an enviable position.

"I think when you arrive at this point in the tournament it is easy to consider it easy, but Manchester City lost to Wigan," he said.

"I think that we must be ready to fight to reach the final and it will be very important for us. Southampton has the same idea.

"Last season it was a pity to lose the final and not celebrate the double. Our target is to do our best. If we can reach the final I want to change the result."