Antonio Conte refused to be drawn on whether Chelsea captain John Terry will make his anticipated final appearance at Stamford Bridge from the start against Sunderland on Sunday.
Terry will lift the 15th major trophy of his career after the Sunderland match, Chelsea’s last game of their Premier League title-winning season.
The defender, who will leave Chelsea after 22 years this summer, started in the league for the first time since September in Monday’s 4-3 win over Watford.
The 36-year-old scored his 67th Chelsea goal on what was his 716th appearance.
Assessing his options for Sunday, Conte said: “John is a champion and he deserves the best.
“It will be a surprise. It’s important to make the best decision and to find the best solution for him, for his career.
“He’s a legend for this club and in this season he has been very important to win this title.
“For this reason I think I have to take my time and to make the best decision for him.”
A further appearance and trophy could potentially follow in the May 27 FA Cup final with Arsenal, when Chelsea will seek a double.
This season’s Premier League title was Terry’s fifth with Chelsea after wins in 2004-05, 2005-06, 2009-10 and 2014-15.
Terry said following the Watford win that retirement was one of the options he is considering, but Conte believes he can play on.
Conte added: “John has all the possibilities to continue his career.
“We all know that he is preferring to play regularly and for this reason he has decided to leave. He wants to play regularly, every week.
“I think he has the possibility to do this, because he’s still strong. I think in the moment I called him to play he showed this.
“When you arrive at this point of your career it’s very important to feel yourself, to feel your body, to feel your mind, to feel if you have still desire, still will to fight to arrive every day and work very hard.
“If you feel this, it’s right to continue to play, to continue your career. John has all these characteristics.”