The fabulous habit of winning

When I wrote my last blog, the team was on a bit of a roll with five wins on the bounce, having just beaten Everton 5-0.

The joyous football we turned in that day was just sublime, but what has most impressed me since then is the way we have stuck to our purpose when we’ve been up against it, against sides who have put a lot of players behind the ball like West Brom and Crystal Palace.

We have shown we have enough guile and nous to be able to unpick these teams, and it’s not always going to make for pretty football, but one moment of brilliance has proved enough in those matches. We’re controlling games, looking less vulnerable than last season and are the most complete unit in the Premier League at the moment.

The winning run now stands at 11, a fantastic achievement, but we shouldn’t get overly excited too quickly. There are some very good sides in the Premier League and as I regularly say there are no ‘gimmes’.

That said, winning is a fabulous habit and you can get into that purple patch where you don’t think you’re going to lose and more importantly, your opposition don’t think you’re going to lose either.

In my athletic career, that time came for me in 1981. I went the whole of the year unbeaten at 800m and 1500m, ending the year with the 800m gold at the World Cup, having set world records both indoors and outdoors.

I’d come out of 1980, an Olympic year, where everything had to be calibrated to the millimetre, and it was mentally and physically bruising. I just decided I wanted to run as fast as I could all year without worrying too much about titles and I think it liberated me.

As I’ve written before, these performances come from a combination of talent, excellent coaching and desire, and I have to say Antonio Conte has been impressive. He’s not afraid to change things when he needs to, and what I like is he is prepared to make decisions early on if he feels it’s not working. He’s doing everything right and he’s just what we need.

Looking back on 2016, I have missed being involved in the Champions League but have thoroughly enjoyed the team’s performances this season. The highlight though still comes from last season. We were clutching a little bit at the time at the end of a poor campaign, but coming back from being 2-0 down to draw 2-2 against Spurs surely had a particular piquancy for Chelsea fans all over, given how much it meant to our north London rivals.

Outside of football my highlight has to be the performance of Team GB in Rio. I was privileged to be the Chairman of the British Olympic Association, and it was our most successful Olympics ever, at home or overseas. We set out to match what we did in London but the teams achieved the unthinkable and did better.

The new BOA Chairman, Sir Hugh Robertson, was my deputy and is a very capable person. The organisation is in very good hands, and the added advantage is he’s a big Chelsea fan, we regularly meet up before games, and he’s now on the board of trustees for the Chelsea Foundation, which is great too.

Everybody talks about the players and coaches but it’s sometimes overlooked at how well run the club, and the Chelsea Foundation is. I don’t think Chelsea has ever been more secure or robust, and it is showing out on the field at the moment. Long may it continue.

That just leaves me to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Let’s hope 2017 begins on the same high with which we wave goodbye to 2016…