Antonio Conte is on the verge of winning the Premier League in his first season at Chelsea and the uncompromising Italian has challenged his players to now go in for the kill.
Ensuring that powerful dressing room voices such as John Terry, Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas were not granted special treatment also won over players who felt undervalued during Mourinho’s turbulent reign.
Conte this week gave a glimpse of the steely streak he has imposed on his players so impressively.
“I like to underline a concept, I don’t have to keep the players happy. We must win,” Conte said.
“You speak about ‘happy’. I speak about ‘to win’ and to work very hard.
“Players are not always happy to work very hard. But I think my target is to put in the mind of my players a winning mentality.
“It’s very difficult to keep 20 players happy. I want players ready to fight and to try to put themselves in the team, to try to win together.
“Then, if you are happy or unhappy, I don’t care.”
Having won Serie A three times as manager with Juventus, Conte knows how to insulate his players from the pressures of the title battle and it would be a major surprise if they surrender their four-point lead over Tottenham.
The 47-year-old Italian is not taking anything for granted however and urged his players to focus on beating Middlesbrough rather than looking ahead to a potential title celebration later in the week.
“For me it’s not the first time to win the title. I have a good experience to face this type of situation,” he said.
“But it won’t be easy until the end. My expectation for this game is we must play a great game against Middlesbrough.
“They are struggling to avoid relegation. We must be ready to fight, ready to find the right way to take three points.”