As Jose Mourinho quaffed champagne in the press room of Chelsea’s east stand moments after lifting the Premier League trophy, he spoke of the need for his champions of 2015 to go on and win multiple titles.
A serial winner like Mourinho wastes little time dwelling on such triumphs and his attention has already turned to how he can win the ninth league title of his managerial career next season.
Mourinho knows the success of his second Chelsea side will be determined by whether they can at least match the success of his originals, who won their first Premier League title a decade ago.
So the Blues manager is already supremely focused on retaining the title next term and know his runaway champions will face a far greater challenge when football returns in August.
“I know that our rivals are not going to accept this title and they are going to fight and there are three or four teams that will be aiming for us, We have to be better – me, the players and our squad.”
“Maybe they need some fresh blood to keep them under pressure. They know me, they know that they are not going to keep their positions on the basis of this year.”
Chelsea will improve in the transfer window to build on a squad that already looks virtually complete, with a striker and a central midfielder the club’s top priorities to ward off the challenge from Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool
There has been a pattern in recent years of highly competitive seasons followed by campaigns in which the champions run away with the league.
That bodes well for next season for those of us hoping for a more competitive title race.
Chelsea are not to blame for the weaknesses in their opponents this season which meant they faced no meaningful competition in the Premier League.
But the chasing pack are all preparing their bank accounts to make their moves in the transfer window which could set up a season to rival the excitement of 2013-14 when the top three were separated by just four points and the title race to the final day of the season.
Manchester United are ready to match the £150 million they spent last year on the back of their return to the Champions League. Memphis Depay has already been added to Louis Van Gaal’s squad while the Dutchman also wants to sign a central midfielder, striker, centre-back and right-back to complete his team.
In an ideal world, United would add Gareth Bale in the summer but more likely additions include Mats Hummels and Nathaniel Clyne, while Paul Pogba and Edinson Cavani remain strongly linked to Old Trafford.
United’s improvement over the course of their first season under Van Gaal will give supporters cause for optimism although the potential departure of goalkeeper David De Gea to Real Madrid will need a resolution sooner rather than later.
On the other side of Manchester, City are ready for huge investment themselves to regenerate their ageing squad and win back the Premier League title after their woeful defence of their crown this season.
The fact that they are targeting the likes of Paul Pogba, Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne suggests City have recognised the need to add top quality to the squad this summer, while a potential managerial change could also work in their favour if Jurgen Klopp replaces Manuel Pellegrini.
Arsenal, for their part, have been in superb form since the turn of the year after finding themselves out of the Premier League running by Christmas.
The major question for the Gunners is how they can cope with the genuine pressure of a title race over the full course of the season, and Arsene Wenger’s ability – or lack of – to handle the club’s perpetual injury problems.
Arsenal do, though, look well placed to make a real go of it having graduated from fourth to third the season and reached another FA Cup final after ending their nine-year trophy draught in 2014.
If they can sign a top class goalkeeper such as Petr Cech, a quality defensive midfielder and a marquee striker to improve on Olivier Giroud, Wenger’s side could start next season with the strongest starting XI in the country.
With the £5.14 billion domestic television deal set to start in 2016, clubs are ready to start investing now and the Premier League once again boasts the financial muscle to sign the best players from every club in the world apart from Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
Liverpool and Tottenham will also invest in their squads and attempt to break into the top four having both wasted tens of millions on sub-par signings since losing their star players to Spanish giants over the last couple of years.
It means that the gap is sure to close between the sides at the summit of the Premier League – and Mourinho faces a real challenge to replicate the back-to-back titles of his first spell as Chelsea manager.