Antonio Conte watched his title-winning side display brilliant battling qualities to force a late winner in an entertaining contest against Watford, with Cesc Fabregas’s 88th-minute strike sealing a 4-3 victory at Stamford Bridge.
John Terry, Cesar Azpilicueta and Michy Batshuayi were all on target for a much-changed Chelsea side, but it looked as though we would have to settle for a point after goals from Daryl Janmaat and Stefano Okaka had made it 3-3.
Conte went for the win, as he has done on many occasions this season. Fabregas and Pedro were introduced for the closing stages and it was a decision which would ultimately prove decisive as the midfielder fired home a late winner for the Blues.
‘I think it was a funny game,’ said the Italian. ‘At this stage of the season I like to see these type of games, when you’ve won the league and you can allow this situation. I must be pleased because I made the decision to change a lot of players and give the opportunity to our young players to start this game. It was an important game because it’s the first game we are champions.
‘We conceded three but we scored four and we created many chances to improve the final result. I had a good answer, we won our 29th game in the league which is a great achievement. We have the possibility to win 30 games and we have to try to reach this target. It’s important for me and the players.’
Terry, who opened the scoring tonight, will say farewell to Stamford Bridge on Sunday
‘First of all I’m looking forward to seeing him lift the trophy and all the players want to see this, he deserves that. John took this decision to play regularly, play every game, and for this reason he preferred to leave Chelsea. For us it’s a big loss. John has helped me a lot on and off the pitch. He always sent the right message to the other players in every moment of the season. It’s a pity for me but I have to respect his decision because I think when you arrive at this moment, when your heart, head and body tell you to continue, it’s right.
‘John wants to continue to play and I wish him and his family the best. Chelsea will always be his home. John is a great man and a great legend for Chelsea.’
Conte also spoke about the impending departure of his assistant Steve Holland
‘This is another big loss for me. When you start a new season and you arrive and see an assistant coach for the first time it’s not easy to quickly have a good relationship. With Steve, and Chris [Jones], we had a really good relationship.
‘It will be a big loss and if he decides to stay and change his choice, my door is open for Steve, but I know it will be very difficult. When you have the opportunity to go with the national team it’s a fantastic opportunity, I know this very well. He’s a really good coach and a really good man.’
Azpilicueta, who has played every minute of every Premier League game this season, scored his first league goal of the campaign
‘It’s been a massive season for him. Azpi played in a fantastic way. When you have this type of player it’s great for the coach. If I ask him to go and put on the gloves and stay in goal he’s ready. He’s a model footballer and able to play in different roles. Today he played as a wing-back, he scored one goal and could have had two or three. He’s having an amazing season.’
Conte explained why Ruben Loftus-Cheek wasn’t involved tonight
‘He’s struggling with a pain in his back. It’s a pity because for sure today was a good opportunity for him. Ruben is a really good player. We have to take the best decision for him for next season, but in the future Ruben is a player from our academy with great prospects.’