Chelsea will go to league leaders Arsenal in good spirits in our last game before Christmas says John Terry, following the win over Crystal Palace, although he acknowledges the need for all-round improvement.

Victory in a tight game on Saturday against the south London side closed the gap on the north Londoners to two points following their defeat at Manchester City, but there were some tense moments as well as missed opportunities at Stamford Bridge, which has been a pattern in quite a few recent games.

‘Once again we weren’t at our best but thankfully picked up the three points and closed the gap on Arsenal, and that is encouragement for us,’ Terry said.

‘Crystal Palace came here on the back of a couple of good wins and they showed a lot of fight and determination and kept going, and while it was 2-1 they were always in the game and they made it difficult at times for us.

‘We need to improve, that is clear, and we are doing that and we are still picking up results, so that is very encouraging for us as well. We know we have a higher gear to go to and once we find that, it will be nice to go on a run of wins.

‘We lost points at Stoke last week and in another couple of games, but we are grinding results out. Ideally we would like it to be more comfortable, especially at home, but teams are coming here and showing a lot of belief.’

One vital moment against Palace was Terry’s clearance sliding back to the goal line to keep out Stuart O’Keefe’s shot.

‘Pete [Cech] touched it first and then it hit my foot and we both kept it out,’ recalled the skipper.

‘Michael Essien was back there as well, and at times like that it is important the midfielders come back and help out the defence, and we all dug deep.

‘There was a great strike from Ramires to make it 2-1 and he did well to shift it out of his feet and find the net. He does that in training regularly and it was pleasing for us to get that second before half-time.

‘But we haven’t killed teams off and it puts a lot of pressure on the defence, and at the same time we could have been a bit more solid over the last few games as well. We have conceded a couple of soft goals from corners and that is something we are working on, trying to keep it tight at the back and hopefully one goal is enough at times.’

– A clip of John Terry talking to Chelsea TV after the game can be viewed above with the full interview available now via the channel’s online access.

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