The victory over David Moyes’s side ensured the Blues became the first team in Premier League history to win 30 matches in a season, meaning we finished the campaign with a seven-point advantage over second-placed Tottenham.
Like most games this season, Azpilicueta started yesterday on the right-hand side of the back three and produced a typically assured performance as he became the latest player to reach the impressive feat, joining a list made up by Manchester United’s Gary Pallister in 1992/93, Leicester’s Wes Morgan last season and Chelsea team-mate John Terry in 2014/15.
‘Obviously it’s not easy to play every minute and win the league,’ said the 27-year-old. ‘It’s a big achievement. I’ve tried to do my best to get in the team but I have to be thankful to the manager, he’s trusted me a lot.
‘I was always in the team and the only way I could repay his confidence was by working hard which is what I’ve tried to do since pre-season. In the end we got a big reward but we want a bigger one next Saturday.’
After the title was secured at West Bromwich Albion, Antonio Conte made a number of changes to the side for our following game against Watford, but with a huge personal milestone in sight Azpilicueta said he was desperate not to be rested.
‘The manager controls everything and he asked me how I was before Watford, after a Friday night game and the big celebrations,’ explained the defender. ‘When I finished that game I was celebrating but in the back of my mind I didn’t want to let it go because I was 180 minutes away from a big achievement, so I did my best to recover.’
Azpilicueta, who had never played as a central defender in a back three prior to this season, has thrived under the guidance of Conte, and he spoke about why the Italian has had such a positive impact since his arrival last summer.
‘From the beginning he was very clear about what he wanted to achieve,’ he said. ‘His winning mentality was amazing since the first day. He didn’t just want to come here and do better than last season, he wanted to achieve big goals.
‘We worked for that and we got our rewards, we’re in the final of the FA Cup and we have a chance to win the Double.’
The physical demands for players at the highest level, particularly in the Premier League, have never been higher, and Azpilicueta provided an insight into what he does away from the field of play in order to give himself the best opportunity to succeed.
‘I do treadmill, gym, yoga and I try to eat as healthily as possible, although there are always some exceptions. I’m a family man and outside football I just try to rest and enjoy my time. When I’m on the pitch, and in every training session, I try to give my best.’