Chelsea boss Conte backs Giroud despite goal drought

Antonio Conte has backed striker Olivier Giroud, who is still waiting for his first Premier League goal for Chelsea.

Giroud was thwarted by defender James Tomkins in the first half and the woodwork in the second of the Blues’ 2-1 win against Crystal Palace.

“He was a bit unlucky,” Blues boss Conte told reporters after the game.

“Many players have had chances to score, not only Olivier. We must be pleased for his commitment.

“He hit the post and in the first half a defender cleared a chance.”

Chelsea, much maligned for their recent performance against Manchester City, got their push for a top-four finish back on track with a victory at Stamford Bridge.

“This win was very important,” Conte said.

“If we want to fight for a place in the Champions League, it will be very important to not drop points.

“We played really well, especially in the first half. For a lot of the game, we dominated and created many chances to score.”

Conte also revealed defender Antonio Rudiger missed the game with “muscular fatigue” but will be in contention to face Barcelona in the Champions League round of 16 second leg on Wednesday.

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