The Blues are now a win away from securing their fifth league trophy after thrashing Middlesbrough 3-0 at Stamford Bridge on Monday.
Chelsea face West Brom on Friday with a seven-point advantage over Tottenham, who play Manchester United on Sunday. The Blues finish their league season with games against Watford and relegated Sunderland.
“Now, we have taken another step to the title. We have to rest well and prepare for West Brom,” Conte said after Monday’s victory, which relegated Boro back to the Championship.
“We must try in the next game to become champions. West Brom will want to play a good game against us, but we are ready.”
Cesc Fabregas started for Chelsea after N’Golo Kante was ruled out through injury, and the Spain international was Chelsea’s outstanding player. He provided the pass for Diego Costa’s opener and Nemanja Matic’s third, and has now claimed 10 assists and four goals in 26 games. Marcos Alonso scored Chelsea’s second.
“It’s been a difficult year for me. I’m used to playing a lot but I feel I have matured a lot,” said the former Arsenal midfielder. “Many people told me I am not the type of player for Antonio Conte and I should leave but I like challenges. I hadn’t played every game but I think I have played in the last 20 games. When I have been on the pitch maybe my contribution is better than a full season.”
This was do-or-die for Middlesbrough, and a late arrival after heavy London traffic cannot have eased their prematch nerves. A point would only have offset their fate until the weekend. The aim of caretaker manager Steve Agnew was to repeat the fine performance his team gave in drawing 2-2 with Manchester City last week, a game Boro were unfortunate not to win.
Just one win in eight matches since replacing Aitor Karanka, a victory over basement club Sunderland 1-0, has not been enough. Not that Agnew is responsible for Boro’s plight; the club’s fans and chairman Steve Gibson are left counting the cost of the team’s lack of adventure and goal scoring under the cautious Karanka.