The defending champions made the trip to Bournemouth knowing that three points was a requirement if the Blues harboured genuine ambitions of retaining their top-flight crown after Manchester City moved 12 points clear thanks to their 3-2 win at West Brom earlier on Saturday.
Chelsea struggled to break down a resilient Bournemouth defence in the first half as the west London side’s confidence looked fragile following one win in their last three Premier League outings.
Former PFA player of the year Eden Hazard scored a second-half winner past ex Blues goalkeeper Asmir Begovic to secure three points for the title holders and cut Manchester City’s advantage to nine at the top of the table.
Ex-Chelsea defender Azpilicueta revealed that Conte had some words of inspiration for the Blues players at half-time at the Vitality Stadium.
“Keep going. Keep the intensity we were having,” Azpilicueta told Daily Star.
“Basically we were playing well and recovered the ball high.
“We were dangerous going forward on many occasions but we lacked the goal. We know in England if you don’t score it is harder and harder.”
Chelsea won the Premier League title with two games to spare last season after finishing seven points clear of runners-up Totteham Hotspur.
The west London side have won the title in two of the past three seasons.
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