With their Premier League status secure, Huddersfield opted to celebrate by returning from Wednesday night’s 1-1 draw at Chelsea by bus.
The Terriers drew at Manchester City on Sunday and claimed another point at City’s predecessors as champions to guarantee their top-flight status for a second successive season ahead of Sunday’s game with Arsenal.
The result all but mathematically condemned Swansea to relegation and means Chelsea’s bid for Champions League qualification appears likely to be a forlorn one.
So jubilant were the Town players after the display at Stamford Bridge that they chose to extend the celebrations on the three hour, 45 minutes, near-200 mile journey back to Huddersfield.
“We cancelled the flight. They want to go back by coach,” said Terriers boss David Wagner, who had a clothing mishap as he was hoisted aloft by his players.
“I hope this was not live. Listen, my body shape is not how it has to be.”
WE DID IT! We stay in the Prem! 🎉😁 pic.twitter.com/spzyFihVft— Laurent Depoitre (@laudepoitre) May 9, 2018
Laurent Depoitre stunned the hosts with an opportunist strike before Chelsea claimed a fortunate equaliser when Mathias Jorgensen’s attempted clearance ricocheted in off Marcos Alonso’s face.
But Huddersfield valiantly held on to survive ahead of Sunday’s game with Arsenal.
“This achievement for our football club is just incredible,” Wagner said.
“We’ve done it on our own, we didn’t rely on anybody. This week with City, Chelsea and Arsenal, this is just unbelievable. I’m so proud.
“This is an over-achievement. For me personally it’s a bigger achievement than the promotion last season.
“Last season we were predicted as a team who would get relegated (from the Championship) and we got promoted.
“This season we were predicted as the team to get relegated by miles and I understand it.
“It feels like another trophy for the football club.”
Conte says at the end of the season you finish in the position you deserve. He thinks we have dropped too many points over the course of the campaign. #CHEHUD— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) May 9, 2018
Chelsea’s bid for a top-four place goes to the final day at Newcastle. They must win and hope Brighton beat Champions League finalists Liverpool at Anfield.
Speculation is rife that Antonio Conte will leave Chelsea this summer, despite guiding them to the title last season. This was not how the Italian would have chosen to bow out if this was his last home match at Stamford Bridge.
“The situation wasn’t in our hands before this game and after this draw the possibilities are less than before,” Conte said.
“I’m realistic. I think at the end of the season you finish in the position that you deserve.
“We dropped many points this season. If we stay fifth in the table it means we deserve to stay in this position.”