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Antonio Conte: Goalscoring Gary Cahill could play as centre forward

22:30 GMT 19/03/2017
Gary Cahill
The Blues boss hailed his new temporary captain who became the match winner against Stoke City on Saturday

Gary Cahill's 87th-minute strike against Stoke City earned Chelsea all three points at the Bet365 Stadium, and Antonio Conte praised his defender's finishing ability after his winner.

Cahill has been stepping up to become the club's temporary on pitch-captain with John Terry increasingly finding himself on the bench, and Cahill's goal Saturday was his sixth of the season.

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Conte has moved Cahill to the left-hand side of a three man defence, which has led to an impressive run of form. The Blues boss believes that Cahill displays the finishing ability of a striker and told Cahill to make up for giving away a first half penalty on Saturday afternoon.

"For me, Gary, he can play also as a centre forward," Conte said to a group of journalists after the vital win. "He has a good quality, he is acrobatic, he is very good during corners and set-pieces.

"I am pleased for him because we conceded the penalty because the referee saw a little push on Gary and then I told him to find the solution to win. This had finished the game.

"It is a difficult moment to remember this because me and all the players we celebrated a great win. I repeat, this is a great win." 

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Conte's side have now dropped points in just three of their last 22 league games, which has led them to becoming strong favourites for the Premier League title. Conte believes that his side have a winning mentality and that they can motivate themselves against any opposition. 

"When you want to win the league, it is important to not drop points," he said. "Above all, when you play against a team who are not a top team. In the middle [of the table] or at the bottom, it is important to keep a continuity in the results. The name of this is a winning mentality."