Antonio Conte admits that Stoke City caused his Chelsea side trouble with long balls up to Peter Crouch, after the Blues ground out a 4-2 win at Stamford Bridge to make it 13 Premier League wins in a row.
Chelsea took the lead through Gary Cahill in the 34th minute after he headed in, but while the Blues kept their advantage heading into the half time break, Stoke levelled within a minute of the restart when Bruno Martins Indi tapped in from close range.
The home side pulled ahead again in the 57th minute after Willian scored, but Stoke were level once again seven minutes later through Crouch, who directed a side-foot shot which beat Thibaut Courtois.
But parity did not last long at all as Chelsea went right down the other end and scored, with Willian angling in a well-placed shot.
Diego Costa then made sure of the win by making it 4-2 with five minutes left, but although Chelsea had taken all three points, Conte knew they had been in a match.
"Congratulations go to my players. To win 13 games in a row in this league is very difficult", Conte told BBC Sport.
"Stoke played very well. They hit long balls to Crouch and fought for the second ball.
"My players showed they can adapt to the different kinds of game we face.
"They showed great commitment, work-rate and will to win. I'm delighted for them", the Italian added.
Conte is now keen for Chelsea to let their hair down on New Year's Eve, before the build up to a big game kicks in, with Tottenham Hotspur next on the horizon.
"Now, it's important to celebrate the arrival of the new year, then to think of the next game against Tottenham.
"Numbers are not important if you do not win the title. Now, they are fantastic and we are proud, but we must concentrate on the second part of the season", he added.