Antonio Conte teaches Jose Mourinho titles can be won in different way with accomplished Chelsea victory

Conte has spoken less, spent less and criticised less these past nine months and kept his eye on the prize

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The Independent Football

Antonio Conte was the one that David Luiz looked to when the dam was broken and the goal finally came. ‘You’, he seemed to say, pointing a finger at the manager. This was surely a moment of utter wretchedness for the man who once sold Luiz and who proclaimed this group of players broken a year ago.

Eight of the players who began the game which delivered Chelsea their title belonged to that man, Jose Mourinho, and in Chelsea’s Conte transformation we have been discovered that you don’t need to be a controversialist or the personification of ego to win this division. Just when Chelsea thought that intelligence, adaptability and thoroughness had gone out of fashion in management, they found them all. Conte has spoken less, spent less, criticised less, these past nine months and kept his eye on the prize.

He initiated the victory – his substitute Michy Batshuayi’s goal delivered it eight minutes from time – but the side was also so drilled to break through that they did not panic. They knew it would come.

In the war of attrition that Conte’s team’s last league challenge on the road turned out to be, there was evidence of what an extraordinary accomplishment this Italian’s season has been. West Bromwich Albion’s only motivation, outlined by manager Tony Pulis before the game, was to gather enough points to be certain of finishing eighth. And yet they created a wall of such indomitable strength that the best team in the land were reduced to snatched half chances.

By the hour mark had them pressing so desperately that wide open spaces were opening up behind and it was they who looked vulnerable. Here, at the end of his first national tour was the quintessentially British challenge, posted by one of its quintessentially British managers.

“We’ve got Tony Pulis!” the home end sang and in Jonny Evans, one of the anchors of their defence, they had a presence whom Manchester United in their infinite wisdom somehow considered surplus to requirement. Craig Dawson made a similar statement about the players the so-called English elite carelessly throw away.

Five key moments that won Chelsea the title

One of Conte’s former Juventus players spoke a few weeks back about the “maniacal precision” in his management and you saw that in his team’s passing, in the game’s first half particularly. It was the usual routine: four or five laconic transfers of the ball and then the volt of electricity: the rapier return pass or the burst of acceleration from Eden Hazard, the man in the pink jet heels. Though this was not his night, he is the one Conte has transformed like none other.

They talk about the way Conte works them until they’re fit to drop – there was a hint when he sued the word ‘work’ 32 times in his first Chelsea press conference and this is manifest in the breathlessness of the way this team advance, retreat and process the ball. Conte watched every inflection, thumb and index finger pinching his chin, the patent leather black shoes polished as much as his team.

It was always going to take some serious guile to prize a way through the solid wall Pulis’ players presented. Behind it was the fleeting sight of goal but Conte’s players struck at it when they could but Pedro sent the ball over. Cesc Fabregas pushed it wide of the left post

When half time had come and gone, Costa tried again, winding a shot wide, before Hazard had one cleared from the line by Claudio Yacob. It was then the West Bromwich counter attacks started - Salomon Rondon spinning around Luiz and threatening goal.

And then, the breakthrough. It sent Conte racing onto the fringes of the turf and when the final whistle blew he was mobbed. It has been an understated kind of management but those scenes reminded you of what Andrea Pirlo once said about Conte, his manager in Turin. "He needed only one speech, with many simple words, to conquer both me and Juventus.” Pirlo later observed: "He had fire running through his veins and he moved like a viper. He told us: ‘This squad, dear boys, is coming off two consecutive seventh-place finishes. It's crazy. It's shocking. I am not here for this.'”

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