London: Antonio Conte believes his "blind faith" has transformed Chelsea from "an ugly duckling into a swan" in the current season.
Chelsea lead the Premier League by nine points with 14 games to go following last Saturday's 3-1 win over Arsenal.
The Blues have won 16 of 18 Premier League games since successive losses to Liverpool and at Arsenal in September prompted Conte to change to a 3-4-3 formation. Chelsea finished 10th in defence of the title last term, but are now runaway leaders once again.
"If you compare this Chelsea with the team from last season then it's normal that you'd end up this way: you can't turn an ugly duckling into a swan in an instant," Conte, who was installed as Jose Mourinho's permanent successor last July, told Sky Sports Italia.
"I'm not a coach who compromises and with my blind faith in the work we're doing, and in my ideas, I've been able to forge straight ahead without worrying about anyone else."
After being anointed champions by Manchester City's Pep Guardiola and Arsene Wenger of Arsenal, Conte urged caution. But his relentless appetite for victory appears to be a warning for the rest of the Premier League. He added: "My experiences as a player taught me that you will win a lot and lose a lot too and that instilled in me a fierce will to win. "Those who are out in front must not falter. It sends a message to those who are following, an increasingly loud message, that we must make the most of this period," Conte added.