By James Agberebi:
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has dedicated his team’s Premier League title achievement to his players, while attributing the triumph to hard work and not luck, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
Chelsea wrapped up this season’s league title after defeating West Bromwich Albion 1-0 away on Friday thanks to a late goal by substitute Michy Batshuayi.
It was Chelsea’s sixth league title and fifth in the EPL era. Nigeria star Victor Moses, who played a pivotal role in the big achievement, won his first Premier League title.
Conte, who is now the fourth manager to win the EPL title in his first season (after Jose Mourinho, Manuel Pellegrini, Carlo Ancelotti), said Chelsea’s attention will now shift towards their next big target.
“This is a great achievement for the players,” Conte said in his post-match interview. “I thank them for their commitment and work rate. They show me a great attitude to try to do something great this season. After this win we must be happy, we must be pleased.
“I thought that Hazard and Pedro were tired and we needed more energy. Michy paid me a lot with this change! It was great. It wasn’t easy for me to arrive in England and try different habits, a different language and inherit players after a bad season.”
Reflecting on what was the turning point of Chelsea’s season, Conte said: “That decision changed our season (change of formation). We had to change and find a new suit for our team. In my mind there was this option to play a 3-4-3 because I knew I had the players to do that.
“We were not lucky, we did a great job. It’s important to rest. It is a great season but now we can win the FA Cup.
“Every game I feel like I have played with my players! I show my passion and my will, my desire to stay with my players in every moment of the game. This is me, I am this.
“In the present, in the past, I stay with my players in positive and negative situations. We won this title together.”
Also reacting to Chelsea’s achievement, assistant captain Gary Cahill admitted that winning the league title was tough.
He said: “It feels amazing. It is a special moment. I thought we deserved it over the season. We worked very hard and have been the better team. It is fantastic to wrap it up with a couple of games to go, it is very difficult in this league.
“We didn’t want this to drag on. We had the opportunity today to win the league and it was a pinch yourself moment in the tunnel before we went out.
“We played maybe a bit nervy because we knew what was at stake but showed experience in the end and wore them down.
“We felt confident in the dressing room all season. There is a danger you start believing you are champions when you are not.
“The league is in the bag, it is an amazing achievement for everyone involved. These are moments you need to cherish. I can’t wait to get my hands on that trophy.”