Chelsea news: Antonio Conte calls Diego Costa 'one of the best strikers in the world'

The Spaniard has scored 10 goals already this season

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Antonio Conte has labelled striker Diego Costa as “one of the best strikers in the world” after his scored his 10th goal of the season against Middlesbrough on Sunday.

Costa’s strike was enough for a 1-0 victory and sent the Blues top of the Premier League at the Riverside Stadium, ahead of Liverpool and Manchester City.

It was the sixth successive game Chelsea have avoided conceding, with Antonio Conte’s side scoring 17 goals of their own in that time – three more than the next highest scorers over that period, Liverpool.

Costa had a tough second season at Stamford Bridge, only managing 12 Premier League goals in Chelsea’s whimpering title defence, but he is already close to surpassing that this season and is two goals clear of nearest rival Sergio Aguero in the race for the Golden Boot.

The Spaniard’s behaviour and temperament has often been called into question but Conte insisted he is delighted with the 28-year-old’s attitude and he must carry on with what he is doing.

"For me, it's important to have this type of question because in the past, you asked me about his behaviour, about his reaction, about his patience," Conte told Sky Sports News.

"Now I think he is one of the best strikers in the world and he has to continue in this way, showing his patience, but in the right way.

"He is very focused on the team, to help the team with the ball, without the ball and he is scoring a lot of goals. He has to continue so.”