Antonio Conte expects Chelsea to get even better as his players continue to adapt to his methods and ideas, despite the team closing in on the Premier League title.
A 2-1 win at Stoke City on Saturday protected Chelsea’s 10-point cushion at the top of the table, with just 10 games remaining, while Conte’s side have also reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup.
The Italian believes his team have bought into his philosophy and he backed Chelsea to continue to improve as he spends more time working on his squad.
“This season is very important because my players are understanding my idea of football,” Conte said. “They are adapting to my system, to my philosophy of football. We are building something important.
“I think my players are fully in my idea of football, fully in the method. When I arrived as a new coach in a new team, you must know your players and have a bit of time to understand the habits, and then to bring them to your idea – but also to show them that your idea is a positive.”
Conte insists complacency is not going to be an issue for Chelsea as they look to take steps towards reclaiming the Premier League title, which they last won in the 2014-15 season under Jose Mourinho.
“We have to always think positive and go game by game,” said Conte. “Now there is an international break. There will be a bit of rest for [some] players, the other players go to play with the national teams. Then we start in Cobham.
“It’s important to be focused, because we have two games at home against Crystal Palace and Manchester City. It’s important to be focused.”
Gary Cahill’s late goal secured Chelsea’s latest win and Conte said the manner of their victory at Stoke sums up the strength of his side.
“I think this must be Chelsea’s mentality,” Conte said. “Don’t forget, Chelsea is a great team and must always play to win. For this reason when you play in this type of team you must have, you must build, you must work on this type of aspect.
“Against Stoke, we showed from the start until the end, the will to win the game, not to come for only one point. We didn’t want to manage the situation, we wanted to play the game to try to win, and in the end we deserved to win.
“It is incredible, our path. It is incredible what we are doing. For sure, if we think in the first part of the season, when we started this league. For sure, we put Chelsea with the teams to fight for the title.
“At the start of the season, it wasn’t bad after three wins, then we changed a lot. Now we stayed on top of the table, we are deserving to stay there. I have to tell thanks to my players because they are working a lot. Working hard.
“They trust our football, in our idea. They show in every game a great commitment. Great will to fight. Great will to show we can win the league.”