Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has challenged his players to finish the job after they moved to the brink of Premier League glory.
The Blues powered past Middlesbrough — condemning them to relegation — and moved within touching distance of regaining the title. Victory over West Brom on Friday will clinch Chelsea’s fifth title in the Premier League era.
Conte was pleased with his side’s response to Tottenham’s 1-0 defeat against West Ham last Friday but warned their visit to The Hawthorns will not be easy.
“This game was very important for us after the defeat for Tottenham,” Conte told Sky Sports.
“The possibility to take three points and to go seven points ahead of Tottenham. For us it was very important to play and to win today.
“Honestly for sure this is a big step because now there are three games. We need to take three points to win the title. It’s great.
“If you think in the last 10 games Tottenham won nine and lost only one. That means we won eight games and lost only two. I think that in this situation we showed great will and desire to win the title.
“Now we are very close but we need to take another step. We have the possibility to win the title without the wait for the Tottenham result. We must focus and prepare well for this game.
“We all know to play away against West Brom won’t be easy but we’re in a good moment.”
Cesc Fabregas produced a man-of-the-match performance to help Chelsea beat Boro at Stamford Bridge, setting up Nemanja Matic and playing a key role in Diego Costa’s opener.
Marcos Alonso added the other for the Blues but Conte reserved particular praise for Fabregas.
“We all know Cesc,” he added. “I think he improved a lot in this season and I am pleased for him because he put himself in the team.
“At the start of the season it wasn’t easy for him because he didn’t play a lot but then he showed he deserved to play.
“Now he’s performing very well. I am pleased for him because it means through hard work you can improve and then you can change the situation for the team.”
When asked if he thinks Chelsea will win the title, Conte said:
“I have to agree because we are doing a fantastic job together with the players.
“Now we need to have another step and another win. Then we can celebrate a fantastic target.”
He added: “It’s important to look at ourselves. There is the right enthusiasm, the right concentration and the right will to finish the season with a great achievement.
“We will try to win but for sure the game against West Brom will be very tough.”