LONDON, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Chelsea manager Antonio Conte urged his players to be more clinical in front of goal after they converted just one of 24 shots in their 1-0 win over Southampton at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on Saturday.
The hosts dominated the match for long periods but their only breakthrough came via Marcos Alonso’s long-range free kick in first-half injury time.
“When you do not score the second goal, you have to suffer,” Conte told Sky Sports. “You are afraid at every corner and free kick and the opponent has the chance to draw.
“We dominated the game, shooting 24 times, hitting the post, and we needed to score the second goal to be relaxed.
“The (Southampton) goalkeeper, Fraser Forster, was good. If you shoot only twice and score two goals, you must be worried. We had lots of shots, but we must be more accurate in our finishing.”
The victory moved Chelsea on to 38 points and level with second-placed Manchester United, who visit West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.
Chelsea have now won eight of their past 10 Premier League matches, with their only defeat in that time coming against West Ham United on Dec. 9.
“We have to be happy with the performance and the clean sheet,” Conte added. “In the last 10 games, we have won eight, drawn one and lost one. This is our run. It shows we are doing our job.”
Southampton, meanwhile, have gone five league games without a win and have fallen to 12th in the standings.
“It was a difficult game,” Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino said. “Especially in the second half, we suffered a lot.
“When you play with five defenders, you do not have a lot of people in the middle and they managed the ball more. We got a couple of chances, we were close, but we fought until the end and were close to equalising.” (Reporting by Matt Westby; Editing by Toby Davis)