Antonio Conte has stressed the work across the club that has gone into taking Chelsea to the brink of a Premier League title in his debut season.
The Stamford Bridge side will clinch the title with two games to go if they beat West Brom on Friday, but Conte is adamant it was by no means an easy season for Chelsea.
Conte arrived after Chelsea had seen a title defence evaporate under Jose Mourinho, who was sacked before the Blues recovered to finish 10th.
The former Italy boss has picked up the pieces impressively, but Conte was quick to thank his players and the club’s staff for their efforts.
“I like to underline this season, at the start it was not easy because we faced a lot of problems. We had to solve a lot of problems,” Conte said at a news conference.
“When you arrive 10th in the league, it means the problem is not only one, but there are a lot of problems. You must divide the fault of this, for this reason we started this season to solve problems and to find the right solution to change the situation that was created in the last season.
“I have to say thanks to the club, players and staff to work very hard to change this. I have to say thanks to my players because it is not easy to adapt to a new method, philosophy and work very hard if you compare the work of this season to the past.”
Conte is already looking forward to the celebrations when Chelsea seal the title, but he has warned his squad not to get carried away just yet.
“I think after one season where you work a lot and you suffer also, if you are able to win and to reach your target the celebration moment must be fantastic,” he added.
“Now is not the right time to think about this because we have to take three points, but afterwards then I hope the players celebrate in the right way.
“For sure this moment is a really good moment for us as we are so close to reaching a fantastic target for us. We must not forget we have to take three points in these three games.
“Friday we have the first chance, but we must know to play against West Brom is not easy. They are a strong team, a good coach and the atmosphere will be very hot. It is important to enjoy this moment and this part of the season.”