The Blues boss has hailed his defender as he aims to achieve a personal landmark in a season of collective success at Stamford Bridge.
Antonio Conte has heaped praise on Cesar Azpilicueta after he completed 3,330 minutes of Premier League football so far this season.
If he plays on Sunday in the Premier League title party, he will be the only Chelsea player to have played in every minute of the league season for his club.
Azpilicueta has even played through a broken fifth metacarpal in his hand that he sustained against Swansea City at Stamford Bridge. Conte lauded the achievement of his versatile defender who approaches the landmark in a title-winning season.
“I think this is a great achievement for him,” Conte told journalists at Cobham Training Centre. “It’s incredible to have played so much, and I hope he finishes the Sunderland game in the right way. To have a player who has played every minute of the season in the league is great. It’s not easy.
“But it means that Azpi is a great player, a champion, on and off the pitch. Because when you do this and you haven’t injuries, haven’t nothing (suspensions), and can play every single minute, it means you are great on the pitch and, above all, off the pitch.”
Conte awaits his first taste of silverware with his new club as he will lift the Premier League trophy after the match against Sunderland. The Blues manager wants to make sure his team don’t get complacent as they aim to break the record number of wins in a season, with 30 victories.
“First of all, it’s important to reach this target. For my players and me, the most important thing was we won the league. To win the league is a great achievement. Then we have the possibility to write our name in history with this target, this achievement.
“30 wins… it won’t be easy to repeat this achievement in the futue. We must be focused, we must be concentrated to try to win on Sunday. I was at the Arsenal game against Sunderland in midweek and they did not find it easy. Don’t forget Sunderland won at Hull City, so it won’t be easy to try and do this.”