Antonio Conte targeted six more wins to clinch the Premier League title and write history after Chelsea’s pivotal 2-1 victory over Manchester City at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea showed resilience in responding from their surprise loss to Crystal Palace and the gap at the top remained seven points as second-placed Tottenham came from behind to win at Swansea.
Goalkeeping errors contributed to the opening goals as Eden Hazard shot through Willy Caballero and Thibaut Courtois gifted City an equaliser, scored by Sergio Aguero.
Hazard saw a penalty saved by Caballero, but tucked in the follow up to give Chelsea a 2-1 half-time lead which they would not relinquish.
Conte’s Chelsea need 18 points in their remaining eight games to clinch the title.
They face Bournemouth next and Conte called on Hazard and his team-mates to make the season a memorable one.
“(Hazard) is an important player. Also he’s growing in his mentality. I think he’s playing a really good season.
This season for all my players, for me, we will remember this season if we win.”
“We must be focused and try to win six games and take three points (six times). If we are able to do this, we will win the title.
“Otherwise it will be a good season, but not a great season.
“We will remember this season if we win. Usually I like to say only who wins write the history.”
Conte is also short of motivational words.
He added: “In Italy for me, honestly, (it) was easier to find the right words to motivate my players.
“But I try. I try to push sometimes with the words, sometimes wave my hands. Six wins.
“It wasn’t easy, but when you play against City, it’s normal to suffer in some part of the game.
“But I think we suffered as a team in the right way. It was a good win for us, above all because when you play after a bad defeat against Crystal Palace, where I think we didn’t deserve to lose.”
If this meeting of two of the Premier League’s superpowers and two elite coaches was meant to be an enjoyable experience, you would not have known from the body language of Chelsea coach Conte and his Manchester City counterpart Guardiola.
He was slapping his thigh and remonstrating with backroom staff within 15 seconds of the kick-off and he was in regular dialogue with fourth official Bobby Madley, with Conte occasionally joining in.
It was, it should be stressed, another frustrating night for Guardiola when his team promised much and ended with nothing – although it concluded with a warm handshake for Conte, who also looked like he had endured a tough night.
Conte, by his standards, was relatively low key but the mask dropped at the final whistle as he pumped his fists in the direction of Chelsea’s fans. This was a huge night for the Italian as he did the double over Guardiola.