Chelsea scored three times in nine frenetic second-half minutes to win 3-2 at Southampton which is now five points from Premier League safety after relegation rivals Crystal Palace beat Brighton & Hove Albion by the same score at Selhurst Park Saturday.
Chelsea were on course for their tenth league defeat of the season after Jan Bednarek followed up Duaan Tadic's first-half opener at St Mary's.
However three goals in eight minutes - two of which came from substitute Olivier Giroud - saw Chelsea turn the match completely on it's head despite the fact that the fifth-placed side don't have a huge amount left to play for.
But Chelsea fought back to win 3-2 through goals from Olivier Giroud, who scored twice, and Eden Hazard.
Mark Hughes' men were rewarded in the first half for defending with discipline and attacking with goal against a group of Chelsea players who appeared disinterested in their fortunes, led by a head coach in Conte whose touchline demeanour reinforced Gianluca Vialli's recent claim that Conte can't wait to leave. Click the right arrow above to seeSport News's Chelsea player ratings... "We have never commented about the negative refereeing decisions, especially after the game".
"In the second half we showed great character, great reaction, great desire to win the game". That response didn't arrive in the opening stages of the second half, with Shane Long going close yet again.
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"The most important thing is to show in every game the right passion and to fight until the end".
However, Conte's opposite number Mark Hughes was unhappy that Alonso had escaped a red card and has called for the player to receive a retrospective ban ahead of next week's FA Cup semi-final between the two clubs. Now we must be focused on the present to try and finish the season as strongly as possible. If you don't have something in your heart, it's very hard to come back and win.
Marcos Alonso's whipped cross found the head of Giroud who powered his header into the bottom corner to cut Southampton's lead in half.
The 22-year-old Pole met James Ward-Prowse's cross on the half-volley to leave Chelsea, who might have had Alonso sent off for a stamp on Shane Long, in a desperate position.
Carlton Cole and Frank Lampard then netted in the last six minutes to complete the comeback.