Antonio Conte
Antonio Conte. Getty Images

Antonio Conte remains optimistic about Chelsea's future despite his side being knocked out of the EFL Cup following a 2-1 defeat at West Ham on Wednesday night (26 October).

Yet, the Italian boss hailed the team spirit of his much-changed side while saw plenty of positives from the performance of youngsters Ola Aina and Nathaniel Chalobah.

The Italian boss changed up to seven players from the team that thrashed Manchester United over the weekend, with 21-year-old Chalobah replacing Nemanja Matic in the middle of the park and 20-year-old Aina playing as one of the wing-back in his 3-4-3 formation.

Although, the two youngsters were unable to avoid defeat against an intense West Ham side, the Chelsea manager was pleased with their performance as a whole.

"I prefer to speak always about the whole team but I think this cup is very important to check the development of these young players. We have good young players and they need to play.

"I think the youngsters played a good game with the right intensity and concentration. When you lose it's normal to see bad things but tonight I found a lot of positives," Conte said while adding that the defeat will help the Blues to learn from the mistakes ahead of the coming games.

"Usually you learn more after a defeat than a win but we must continue to work. I'm optimistic because I saw the right spirit and that's very important. You can lose or win but you must have the right spirit. If I see that, I see a clear future.

"Tomorrow we start to work for Sunday's game. We know we will play a very tough game against Southampton, who are in a good moment," he said.

Cheikhou Kouyate gave the Hammers the lead early in the first-half, before Edimilson Fernandes scored a second goal. Conte tried to react by introducing Diego Costa, Eden Hazard and Pedro but only harvested a consolation goal from Gary Cahill during injury time.

"The performance was good because we knew they would play a strong game, but I think we played with a good intensity and created many chances to score a goal,' said Conte.

"I saw a good spirit in my players because until the end they tried to change the result. Tonight we were a bit unlucky.

"I think we didn't expect the second goal so early and that changed our plan. Then we tried to change the situation by putting on fresh players. We created many chances to score and only did it at the end of the match."