Antonio Conte’s Blues on the verge of winning the Premier League and can do it on Friday night at the Hawthorns
CHELSEA manager Antonio Conte watched as double Player of the Year N’Golo Kante came through training unscathed ahead of Friday’s trip to West Brom.
Chelsea need a win at the Hawthorns to confirm their fifth Premier League crown.
And the return of the peerless Kante, who missed Monday’s easy 3-0 win over Middlesbrough with a thigh problem, makes it all the more likely they will capture the three points they need.
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Eden Hazard and Diego Costa also looked sharp as the first team trained at Stamford Bridge on Thursday, rather than at their Cobham training HQ.
Kante is set to win his second title in two seasons in England, having won the crown last year with Leicester.
And Chelsea boss Conte will be delighted to see him back in the starting XI as Chelsea have won just one of their last five visits to the West Midlands.
Conte confirmed on Thursday he will snub interest from Inter Milan to continue his revitalisation of Chelsea.
He said: “I have a contract with Chelsea for two years.
“The will is to continue to work for many years. For sure, this is my will.”
It will be Kante’s first appearance since being voted the Football Writers’ Player of the Year award to go with his equivalent gong from the PFA.
Receiving the PFA honour, he said: “I think this is a reward for this season and last season, and I want to thank everyone who voted for me to be part of the Team of the Season and to get this award, it means a lot to me.
We’re still doing the right things, there’s no complacency
“My teammates gave me a round of applause and that’s very important because without them I couldn’t receive this award.”
Gary Cahill assured Chelsea fans the players will not be guilty of complacency at the Hawthorns.
“It’s one more to go, we have two home games and one away so we’re in a very good position now,” Cahill told the club’s official website.
“The pressure is still on because we have to win one game out of the three, but with the way we’re playing there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be confident.
“We’re still doing the right things, there’s no complacency.
“It’s going to be a tough game at West Brom, it always is. It’s never comfortable and we need to be aware of that, but we’re looking forward to getting the job done.”
Cahill says Chelsea can draw on their experience in the successful 2015 title race.
“It was probably more comfortable last time but the run-in is always the same, there is always a stage in the season when it’s going to be tight, when teams are putting pressure on and you’re having to win,” added Cahill.
“That’s helped us this time, having the experience of that. We’re in a great position now and if we were to throw it away we’d be devastated.”
West Brom players however are determined to rain on Chelsea’s title parade.
Defender Gareth McAuley said: “They’re a top, top side, but over the years we’ve had good games against them and we’ve had a few good results at The Hawthorns, so we’ll be turning up confident and trying to win the game.”
Chris Brunt added: “We can’t just roll over and let them get the result they need to win the League. They won’t get an easy game when they come to The Hawthorns on Friday.
“We’ve lost the last couple at home without scoring a goal. Chelsea are a top side and it’s going to be really difficult, but it would be nice to finish off on a high if we can.”
Manager Tony Pulis said: “They deserve to be where they are and have been most consistent team but we will give it our best.”