Antonio Conte: This Chelsea star showing the right kind of passion

The Chelsea manager lavishes praise on Diego Costa following Sunday's 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough

Antonio Conte has lavished praise on Diego Costa after the striker scored Chelsea’s winner in a 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough on Sunday.

The Spain international netted a 41st-minute winner to secure three points for the west London side at the Riverside Stadium.

Costa has now scored 10 times in 12 Premier League games under new manager Conte in a brilliant start to the 2016-17 season so far.

The controversial centre-forward’s winner hoisted the Blues into top spot in the Premier League table ahead of Liverpool and Manchester City.

Speaking at his post-match media conference on Sunday evening, Conte praised Costa’s attitude after the Spanish forward’s first-half winner.

“Diego is always important. He is the point of reference in our attack, and together with Eden and Pedro, they played a good game,” Conte said.

“Diego is impressing with the way he is finding ways to score goals. It’s important to continue in this way because we need his goals, Eden’s goals, Willian’s goals, Pedro’s goals.

“In the past, people asked me about his behaviour, his reaction, his passion, and now he’s one of the best strikers in the world. He has to continue in this way. He is showing his passion in the right way.

“He is very focused on helping the team with and without the ball, and he is scoring goals.”

Conte took over the reins from Guus Hiddink in the summer after Chelsea finished in tenth place in the Premier League table last season.

Costa moved to Chelsea in a £32m deal from La Liga side Atletico Madrid in 2014 under Jose Mourinho.

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The striker scored 21 times in 26 Premier League games as the Blues won the 2014-15 title.

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