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Antonio Conte challenges his Chelsea side to pull further away from their title rivals

ANTONIO CONTE challenged his Chelsea side to put clear water between themselves and the chasing Premier League pack by Christmas after their tenth successive victory at the Stadium of Light last night.
GETTYChelsea secured their tenth win in a row with a 1-goal victory over Sunderland

Cesc Fabregas's 40th minute goal carried Chelsea to a convincing 1-0 win over bottom-placed Sunderland which gave the club the longest winning streak in a single season since Jose Mourinho was in charge in 2006.

"It's fantastic to win ten games in a row in this league. It's very tough in every game; you have to fight to the end to take three points and today was an example," said Conte.

"I'm pleased for my players. They deserve this for their commitment and their work rate. We have to continue on Saturday in what will be another tough game against Crystal Palace. We want to try to arrive at Christmas in an incredible position in the table."

  REUTERS Antonio Conte's side pulled six points clear at the top of the league

PA Cesc Fabregas scored the only goal as Chelsea beat Sunderland
Fabregas, outstanding in what was only his third league start of the season, is urging his teammates to keep the pedal to the floor.

"We know that in this period of the year we can send a strong message and hopefully we can continue like this," said Fabregas.

Chelsea's tenth clean sheet of the season - the same total as the whole of last season - was secured by Thibaut Courtois's superb injury-time save from Patrick van Aanholt which prevented a Sunderland smash-and-grab point.

Chelsea player ratings against SunderlandWed, December 14, 2016
Express Sport brings you Chelsea's player ratings from their match against Sunderland

Sunderland manager David Moyes praised his outgunned team's fight but admitted to frustration that he will have no budget for signings in next month's transfer window to assist in the club's relegation fight.

"I knew I had a short summer and I knew I wasn't going to do much business then - it was going to be really difficult - but I did expect to be able to do some business in January," he said.

Asked if that meant no cash at all, Moyes replied: "That's my understanding. That's what I'm told."