WITH the Premier League title in the bag, Antonio Conte already has his sights set on the double in his first, fantastic season at Stamford Bridge.
The Chelsea boss, after last night’s win at West Brom, has the luxury of giving key players a rest before the FA Cup Final against Arsenal.
It is the perfect scenario for Conte who celebrated like a player himself last night, getting the bumps on the pitch and no doubt being drenched in the dressing room.
The players love him; his staff love him, the fans love him more – Conte has done a wonderful job after the Jose Mourinho debacle. Quite frankly, what’s not to love?
The passion he shows – we see it on the touchline every week – can only transfer positive energy to his players and they have proved, over the course of the season, they are worthy champions.
Within minutes of toasting his players with the customary bottle (or several) of champagne, Conte’s brilliant mind quickly switched to next quest…the FA Cup Final on May 27.
That is the date fixed in Conte’s mind; the day when he wants to turn ‘a great season’ into ‘a fantastic’ season.
It promises to be a memorable night of celebration at the Bridge on Monday night when the champions entertain Watford.
“For me to win in my first season in England, I am really proud of the achievement,” he told BBC Sport – http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/39905241.
“My players showed me great professionalism, commitment, work-rate and will to try to win this league. We have two games to celebrate, then we try to make this season from great to fantastic.”
Ironically, it was the 3-0 defeat to FA Cup Final opponents Arsenal in September that defined Chelsea’s season. A switch to a back three, players understanding their roles…it all clicked into place after that.
Much to the credit and delight of the effervescent manager, who added: “It was a key moment in the season because every single player found in this system the best for him.”