Costa form is Conte's greatest achievement – Wilson

By Stephen Creek 1 March 2017
Costa form is Conte's greatest achievement – Wilson

Diego Costa's form for Chelsea this season is one of Antonio Conte's greatest achievements, according to former Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson.

Speaking ahead of the London Football Awards, Wilson described Conte's impact at Stamford Bridge as "extraordinary" and picked out his man-management of Spain striker Costa as key to Chelsea's march to the top of the Premier League.

Costa has scored 16 goals in the Premier League this season, already eclipsing his total of 12 in Chelsea's previous campaign. The 28-year-old is on course to beat his best Chelsea tally of 20, scored when the Blues won the Premier League under Jose Mourinho's management in 2014-15.

"Of the two most difficult positions in any team, the goalkeeper is crucial," said Wilson. "You might not find it unusual that I am saying that, but it is a very individual position in at what is a team game.

"The other is the guy who scores the goals at the other end; the one or the two who can grab you a certain amount of goals on a consistent basis, year in, year out. Obviously Costa had that.

"You can see that he can easily be wound up himself, as well as very easily winding up the opposition. But I think that is one of the greatest achievements of Conte's time, is to get Diego Costa playing as he was in Mourinho's team."

Wilson, who won the First Division title with Arsenal in 1971, admitted that he saw Conte as an unknown quantity when he took over at Chelsea before the season began, but heaped praise on the Italian for steering the club back to the top after their 10th-placed finish following Mourinho's departure in 2015-16.

Wilson said: "I think what he has achieved at a club that was really in a sort of limbo, they were in a serious position. He has come in and been a total eye-opener to everybody in the Premier League.

"I don't think too many people outside knew too much about Antonio Conte and so, without a doubt, he has just been extraordinary for the Premier League and especially for Chelsea football club."

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