A solitary Cesc Fabregas goal was enough to help Chelsea leave the Stadium of Light with all 3 points and extend their lead at the top of the table.

The Blues managed to scrape through with a late first half goal from Cesc Fabregas. Chelsea were dealt an injury blow earlier after it was reported that Eden Hazard did not travel with the side after picking up an injury, but Antonio Conte’s side showed that they had enough quality within their ranks to manage without the Belgian on the night.

Speaking in his post-match press conference about the goal scorer of the night, Conte was full of praise for Fabregas, 29, who was included in lat night’s starting XI ahead of Nemanja Matic. “I am very happy for him. Cesc is a great example for the other players because this was only the third game he has started [in the league]. This month he has a fantastic attitude, great behaviour, great commitment,” he said.

Chelsea's Spanish midfielder Cesc Fabregas celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the English Premier League football match between Sunderland and Chelsea at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland, north-east England on December 14, 2016. / AFP / Oli SCARFF / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Chelsea’s Spanish midfielder Cesc Fabregas celebrates scoring his team’s first goal during the English Premier League football match between Sunderland and Chelsea at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland, north-east England on December 14, 2016. / AFP

The Italian said that he had 4 midfielders and he tries to make the best choice possible prior to each game. He went on to say that that he had to consider his options, when they faced really physical opponents, where they would need more technique, before adding: “His answer was very good today and also against Manchester City.”

The victory sees Chelsea extend their lead on the top of the table by 6 points, but Conte said he would prefer to not look at the table just yet, insisting that the league didn’t finish with their victory. “I prefer not to look at the table, for me and my players. We are doing something important up to now, but the league didn’t finish today,” he said. The 47-year-old said that even though his side are on top of the table, there are still three games before the end of the first part of the season after which he went on to say: “This league is very tough and until the end it will be a great battle between six teams.”

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There has been a lot of speculation regarding Oscar’s immediate over the course of the past two days after it was reported that Chelsea had accepted a £60 million bid from Chinese side Shanghai SIPG. On being asked about the current state of affairs, Conte assured that the situation would clear up in the following days.

He refused to rule out a move away for the attacker, who has barely featured this campaign for the Chelsea, after the introduction of the 3-4-3 formation. “I prefer to stop talking! Oscar started the season very well with us when we played 4-3-3,” he said. “When I switched to another formation he didn’t play a lot but I always count on him because he is a really good young player. Sometimes there are situations that are very difficult to face, but his situation will be clearer in the next days.”

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