Conte relaxed after rotation risk works out well for Chelsea

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Chelsea routed Stoke City 5-0 on Saturday that helped English Premier League defending champion jump into second place in the EPL standings, with 45 points, after Manchester United drew for the third league match in a row, this time against Southampton 0-0.

The win was then put beyond any doubt when Pedro collected Willian's lay off from about 20-yards before firing across goal in similar fashion to his goal against Stoke earlier in the season.

Relating to City, who have a 15-point lead over Man United in second and 16 over Chelsea (who are third), Conte said that: "But it's normal when your competitors are doing so well, like Manchester City.it's very hard to think about fighting until the end for the title". Antonio Rudiger heading home Willian's free kick in the third minute to give his team an early lead.

On a rare venture forward for Stoke on 39 minutes, Mame Biram Diouf thought that he had pulled a goal back with a fine finish from Charlie Adam's long-range pick out, only to be harshly penalised for handball.

It was an emphatic way for Chelsea to sign off 2017, but Stoke head into the New Year only two points clear of the relegation zone and with defensive issues which have made them easy pickings for the top sides.

The day didn't get any better for Stoke as the Blues continued to attack and fifth goal of the afternoon came when Davide Zappacosta smashed his shot in from just outside the box in the 88th minute.

"If you compare this season with last season we have conceded less goals".

"We started very well and had great desire to score". I have had conversations with the club and they know my opinion.

Of the Premier League's top six, no team will have endured a more congested schedule than that which faced the Potters. "This was a fantastic year", the 48-year-old told reporters.

"To win the title in England is not easy". To be able to do this at your first try, I will remember this year in my mind forever.

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