Antonio Conte fumes at Chelsea’s start at Southampton but “very happy” with comeback

Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte praised the spirit and desire his side displayed in coming back from 2-0 down to beat Southampton 3-2 at St Mary's

Antonio Conte took the blame for a “very disappointing” first half from Chelsea before their late comeback win at Southampton.

The Blues found themselves a goal behind to a side who have not won a home game in the Premier League since November, and went two down on the hour mark before the introduction of Olivier Giroud, who scored twice as they grabbed three in eight minutes to turn the game on its head.

“Our first half wasn’t good, in a lot of aspects,” said Conte. “I think we didn’t show great spirit, enough desire or will to fight for a good result. The first half was very negative.

“I saw a great reaction after half-time, the right will to fight, the right desire to win this game, despite the difficulties because they went 2-0 up.

“But we have had the right spirit to come back and win this game. If you don’t have something in your heart, it’s very difficult to win the game, but today I’m very happy with the second half, and very disappointed with the first.

“I’m the first to take the fault for the first half, but I repeat the second half my players deserve great credit.”

It was Conte’s changes that turned the game in Chelsea’s favour, with Giroud grabbing his first and second for the club, but the manager was more concerned with the difference in his team as a whole for Chelsea’s first league comeback from two goals down since 2002.

He said: “I think that the coach has to try to find a different solution, especially if you are losing, but I think the difference was that we played in the second half with great desire not to lose another game. No-one deserves this type of season.”