After guiding his side to the Premier League title in his first season as Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte was understandably overjoyed as he reflected on the achievement a couple of hours after the final whistle had blown at the Hawthorns.
Michy Batshuayi, a second-half substitute, pounced with eight minutes remaining to win it for the Blues, stabbing home from close range after Cesar Azpilicueta had fired a ball across the face of goal to seal our second title in three years.
On arrival in the press room at the stadium Conte thanked the media for waiting so long, before going on to speak about the celebrations.
‘I celebrated with my players which is normal after a great achievement like this,’ said the Italian. ‘They wet me after the celebrations with the fans, they poured champagne and beer over me so I had to change my clothes, my suit is a disaster now. I’m wearing the tracksuit but I’m living a very important moment. I’m enjoying it a lot because when you put a lot of passion, enthusiasm and hours into your work, and you don’t sleep, when you arrive in the moment it’s only right to celebrate with my fans, staff and the club. It’s a dream which is coming true.’
Conte was delighted for Batshuayi
‘It’s great, I’m pleased for him because we all know the difficulty he found in his first season. It’s not easy to play in this league. For him I’m pleased because he’s scored two goals, this one was very important for him and us. It’s great because it’s not easy in one moment to change the game. I did this to try to win and Michy repaid me a lot for my choice. Also Willian’s impact was very good. It means I trust my squad and this season we have had three competitions, league, FA Cup and Capital One Cup. For this reason certain players didn’t have a lot of time but they worked very hard, Michy is a great example. I’m very happy for him because to score a very important goal is great.’
Conte said switching to a 3-4-3 formation earlier in the campaign was the turning point
‘Honestly, yes. The Arsenal game was frustrating for me because I didn’t see anything of my work and my idea of football. I found the strength to change, to take responsibility to change systems and find a new fit for the players. It was the key moment for us because every single player found in the system their best.
‘Our season didn’t start in the right way, we had many problems, not only one. To find the right solution quickly wasn’t easy and for this I want to say thanks to my players because they trust in a new work and new philosophy. This result is for the attitude and behaviour of my players.
‘I want to say thanks to our fans because they pushed a lot in every game, home and away. They deserve this.’