Antonio Conte was all praise for his team as Chelsea won a twelfth Premier League game in a row to beat Bournemouth 3-0 and consolidate their lead on top of the table.

Chelsea hosted Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge on Monday evening, looking to continue their incredible winning streak and maintain their lead on the summit of the Premier League table. This time though, Antonio Conte’s side had to make do without top scorer Diego Costa, who was suspended for the match after picking up his fifth yellow card in the win over Crystal Palace last week.

However, Costa’s absence wasn’t felt much as Chelsea looked largely comfortable for the majority of the match after initially struggling to break Bournemouth’s resistance. They finally grabbed a foothold in the game midway through the first half to ease the nerves around Stamford Bridge.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: Eden Hazard of Chelsea celebrates with team mates after scoring his sides second goal during the Premier League match between Chelsea and AFC Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge on December 26, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 26: Eden Hazard of Chelsea celebrates with team mates after scoring his sides second goal during the Premier League match between Chelsea and AFC Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge on December 26, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

Cesc Fabregas, who was handed a rare start by Conte with N’Golo Kante suspended, found Pedro on the edge of the box with a delicate pass who magnificently chipped Bournemouth goalkeeper Artur Boruc to give Chelsea the lead. The rest of the first half saw Bournemouth give their hosts a run for their money as they commanded equal possession of the ball but remained a goal behind Chelsea.

The second half though, saw a much improved Chelsea as they looked sharper and much more decisive on the ball, as Eden Hazard ran the show with able support from Willian and Pedro in attack. And it was the talismanic Belgian who doubled the lead for the Blues by scoring from the spot after he had been brought down in the box by Simon Francis’ late lunging tackle.

Having gone 2-0 up, Conte’s men didn’t allow Bournemouth to get a sniff of their goal, while creating chance after chance to extend their lead. As the game entered its dying stages, the resounding win was complete with yet another Chelsea counterattack as Pedro grabbed a brace for himself with a deflected shot off Steve Cook with a few seconds remaining on the clock.

After the match, Conte expressed his delight at his side extending their winning run, while acknowledging that the task at hand on Monday was a tough one. He said, “It wasn’t easy. This game was very tough. I’m pleased because it isn’t easy to win 12 in a row. The players deserved this. They are showing me great focus, concentration, attitude and behaviour.”

He was also quick to point out how Chelsea defied skeptics’ expectations to win comfortably despite the absence of the influential duo of Costa and Kante. He added, “We sent a good message today, in general. A lot of people waited for us, without two really important players, to lose points, but it didn’t happen. I can count on all my players in the squad.”

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