Antonio Conte believes Chelsea striker Diego Costa is now one of the best forwards in the world

The Italian manager has heaped heavy praise on striker Diego Costa for learning to control his emotions and turning a new leaf this campaign for Chelsea. Last season, the Spain international looked off the pace and did not show the poise and finesse he did in his first season.

According to Luke Edwards of the Telegraph, Conte said: “Diego is always important, not only for the goals but because he is our point of reference when we are attacking. He played so well with Pedro and Eden [Hazard].

“He has been very impressive in the way he has found a way to score a goal and he has to continue in this way. We need him to carry on.

“I think he is a striker who is one of the best in the world because he is showing his passion in the right way. He is very focused on trying to help the team, with or without the ball.”

MIDDLESBROUGH, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 20: Diego Costa of Chelsea celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Premier League match between Middlesbrough and Chelsea at Riverside Stadium on November 20, 2016 in Middlesbrough, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

MIDDLESBROUGH, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 20: Diego Costa of Chelsea celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Premier League match between Middlesbrough and Chelsea at Riverside Stadium on November 20, 2016 in Middlesbrough, England. (Photo Courtesy: Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

In a cagey game against Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium on Sunday, it was courtesy of Costa’s goal that the Blues picked up three points and thus, plummeted their way to the top of the table. Boro made it difficult for Chelsea to find the back of the net, but the 28-year-old continued his prolific form to win the game for Chelsea.

Last season, under Jose Mourinho, Costa appeared to be uninterested and hardly put in a shift for his side. This term, however, the player has worked on his attitude and has become more of a team player for Chelsea. With ten goals to his name, the Spaniard finds himself leading the race for the Golden Boot and is two strikes ahead of Sergio Aguero in second place.

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