Antonio Conte praised his rotated Chelsea team for ensuring the perfect end to 2017 with a 5-0 rout of Stoke City at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea were 3-0 up inside 23 minutes thanks to goals from Antonio Rudiger, Danny Drinkwater and Pedro Rodriguez, and strikes in the second half from Willian and Davide Zappacosta piled further misery on the struggling visitors and pressure on beleaguered manager Mark Hughes.
After the match Conte -- who rested Eden Hazard ahead of Wednesday's clash with Arsenal and was also able to substitute N'Golo Kante, Victor Moses and Alvaro Morata -- was keen to highlight the contributions of his fringe players and added that he will always associate 2017 with winning the Premier League title.
"I think our performance was very positive," Conte said. "We started the game very well with great desire to score early. In this type of game, if you are able to score early the game can become easy because your opponent has to change their plan and give more space for you to attack with your striker.
"We wanted this. I'm very pleased for the performance of all my players and I'm pleased with another clean sheet. I think that we're showing good solidity -- if you compare this season with last season, we scored less but we conceded less.
Antonio Conte greets referee Kevin Friend after Chelsea's 5-0 victory over Stoke.
"We have to continue to work very hard to try to improve this team, but for sure to end this year in this way is great for me, great for the players, great for the club, great for our fans. This year was a fantastic year.
"To win the title in England is not simple, not easy, and to be able to do this in your first chance ... I will remember this year in my mind forever."
The only negative on the day for Chelsea was Morata, who appeared a little short on confidence and missed three gilt-edged chances when put clean through on goal before Michy Batshuayi replaced him in the 71st minute. Conte, however, chose to focus on the positives of the Spain international's performance.
"It was a pity, because for a striker it's always important to score, but usually I'm more worried when our striker doesn't have chances to score," he said. "In this case I think Alvaro was very good to stay in the right place.
"He scored a hat trick in the game away against Stoke City, and I think he drew the situation between the game away and the game at home. But I repeat: for me it's very important to see that my players have the chances to score."
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