The future of one of his defenders and the achievements of another this season have been discussed by Antonio Conte in the build-up to tomorrow’s league finale against Sunderland.
It will be John Terry’s last Premier League fixture as a Chelsea player and his last at Stamford Bridge, too, and what better way to go out than to get his hands on the top-flight trophy for a fifth time.
A day of celebration beckons but there will be a tinge of sadness too as Terry says farewell, and that is something Conte has been considering.
‘I lived another situation with [Alessandro] Del Piero in my first season as a manager at Juventus,’ the boss remembered.
‘He finished playing that season. When you are used to having a club in your life every day, you start your day and you have that club in your mind, it’s not easy to think you’ll start a new day and finish this situation.
‘But this situation in his mind mustn’t finish. Chelsea will always be his home.’
Looking to the future and the end of Terry’s playing days, whenever that may be, Conte explained why he thought the skipper could do a good job in the dugout.
‘He has a good personality, he has had incredible experience with different managers, great managers, he won a lot and it’s very important to start your career with this experience.
‘If you are able to mix your knowledge from the many years you have worked with different coaches, it is very important. It’s important to have your own idea when you become a manager.
‘Then it’s very important to take your time to understand which is the best way for you when you finish playing. It’s not easy to say which is the best way. It’s a personal question. If you ask me if he has the possibility and the characteristics to become a good manager in the future, yes, yes.’
Conte knows we will write history if we beat Sunderland tomorrow by becoming the first Premier League team to record 30 victories in a single season, a statistic made all the more impressive when you consider we did not win three of our opening six games.
To do that we must get the better of a Sunderland side who looked resolute in midweek against Arsenal, our FA Cup final opponents. Conte will once again be calling on Cesar Azpilicueta, a starter and finisher in every league game so far. He hopes to make it 38 games played and all minutes completed come 5pm tomorrow.
‘It’s incredible to have a player playing every single minute in this league. Unbelievable.
‘It means Azpi is a great player and a champion on, and off the pitch. When you do this and you haven’t an injury, you are able to play every single minute, it means you are great on and above all off the pitch. This is a great achievement for him.’