Chelsea keep Champions League hopes alive at Burnley

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LONDON, April 20: Chelsea manager Antonio Conte defended misfiring striker Alvaro Morata despite the Spaniard missing a host of chances in a 2-1 win at Burnley on Thursday.
Victory kept Chelsea’s outside chances of chasing down Tottenham Hotspur for a place in next season’s Champions League alive as they closed to within five points their London rivals with four games remaining.
Chelsea meet Southampton for the second time in eight days in a FA Cup semi-final on Sunday after Conte’s side came from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at St. Mary’s on Saturday.
And with the Cup representing Chelsea’s last chance at silverware this season, the Italian left Eden Hazard and Willian on the bench as Olivier Giroud and Morata started together up front for the first time.
Morata has still only scored twice in 2018 after missing two one-on-ones with England World Cup hopeful Nick Pope.
But Conte believes the Spaniard showed he and Giroud can work more often as a partnership.
“This is a really good option,” said Conte. “In the past it was very difficult for me to try this option with the two strikers but they showed a great link and a great combination and at the same time they worked very hard for the team.”
Burnley’s opening day 3-2 win at Stamford Bridge was an early indicator as to how the season would develop for both sides with Sean Dyche’s side now dreaming of qualifying for European competition for the first time since 1967. (AFP)