Antonio Conte expressed delight at winning the Emirates FA Cup to cap a rollercoaster season for Chelsea but admitted it was far from easy.
Eden Hazard’s penalty, after Phil Jones brought him down in the box, was the only goal of the game at Wembley as Chelsea edged past Manchester United to lift the trophy for the eighth time.
Despite the tense atmosphere surrounding Conte and his club this season, the Blues boss praised his players for the commitment.
- Emirates FA Cup Final
- Saturday 19 May 2018
- at Wembley Stadium
- by Will Thompson
Conte said: “I'm very satisfied. To win The FA Cup against a really strong team, we must be pleased.
“It wasn't easy but I'm very happy for our fans and our players.
"This season was very difficult for many reasons. I predicted difficulties at the start of the season but we finished fifth and we won The FA Cup. To miss a place in the Champions League is not good for a club like Chelsea.
“We must be honest to say this but at the same time I think you have to know the real situation - that these group of players did their best.
“To finish with this win and win an important trophy like this shows great commitment and desire to finish the season in the right way despite the difficulties.”
Questions have arisen throughout this campaign over whether Conte was the right fit to bring more success to Chelsea, having guided them to Premier League glory last season, yet finishing fifth this time around.
But the Italian believes the Emirates FA Cup success is evidence of his hard work and refuted any notions of a lack of commitment to his duties.
He added: “Even in a difficult season, I showed I am a serial winner. This has given me even more satisfaction in the past. I have a contract and I have committed to this club.
“Even with the speculation, my position was always the same - I was committed to this club. But our job is not simple. I understand that the club can make a decision - positive or negative. It's right that the club demands a lot.
"After two years, the club knows me very well. If they want to continue to work with me, they know me - I can't change.
“My way is always the same: hard work and to build camaraderie with my players. My past speaks clearly as a player and manager.
“I'm a serial winner and I showed this in England after a difficult moment for the club. We found the right way to win this trophy."