Antonio Conte has warned his Chelsea stars they are playing the most important game of the season on Wednesday night.
Chelsea travel to Azerbaijan to take on Qarabag in the Champions League knowing a win could secure their spot in the next round.
An embarrassing loss to Roma in Italy derailed Chelsea’s push for the knockout stages, but the Blues remain in an excellent position on seven points in second place in group C.
Chelsea have won two in a row since that loss to Roma, but Conte has warned his side beating Qarabag is a crucial moment in their season.
‘To win in this way is very important for our confidence, especially now we are going to play an important game on Wednesday,’ Conte added.
‘I think this will be the most important game of the season because we have the possibility, with a win, to go through to the next round in the Champions League, so to start our path in this way was very positive.’
N’Golo Kante, Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard were all substituted in the second half against West Brom as Conte bids to have the essential trio fresh for Wednesday.
It was a brilliant warm-up for the Champions League clash with Hazard scoring twice and and Alvaro Morata and Marcos Alonso also on the scoresheet.
Chelsea kept within touching distance of Premier League leaders Manchester City on Saturday by beating West Brom.
It is the Blues’ fourth league win in a row, but Conte’s side remain nine points adrift of City.
‘I hope so because last season we won 13 games in a row and in this league it’s not simple to have this type of run,’ Conte said on Chelsea going on another 13-game unbeaten run.
‘In every game it’s very difficult, every game you have to play with great focus and concentration otherwise you risk dropping points.
‘Four wins in a row is important for our confidence. We started the season with many problems but we are trying slowly to find the right solution. I’m very happy, especially for the commitment of my players.
‘In this case it doesn’t depend on us because Manchester City are playing very well and they’re having fantastic results. Now it’s very difficult to think that someone can stop them. They are having a fantastic run.’