Hopes were high before kick-off that a return to Stamford Bridge this weekend would bring the best out of the team and steady the ship following consecutive away defeats, and so it proved.
For the visit from Stoke City, Jose Mourinho made four changes to the starting line-up from the midweek match in Paris and it was two of the players introduced, Mohamed Salah and Frank Lampard, who netted the first two goals against Mark Hughes’s side, with Willian completing the scoring.
With no margin for error left in either the Premier League or the European campaign, it was a reassuring performance and result.
‘We needed this win, we had to win because we wanted to keep in the title race,’ said Andre Schurrle who returned to playing in a wide position following his deployment up front in the Champions League quarter-final first leg.
‘We have the three points, that is what we wanted and now we are looking forward to the match against Paris on Tuesday.
‘It is difficult because we know it is not in our hands to win the Premier League title, but we don’t want to give anything away so we have to keep the pressure on. We have to win every match we play and then we will see where we stand at the end.’
Saturday’s clean sheet was the eighth in a row in home games and Jose Mourinho emphasised afterwards how important it is to try to maintain that run against Paris St-Germain in the Champions League second leg.
Schurrle said: ‘Normally defensively we are very good, we don’t concede many goals. The last two games were not our best but we know we can score and we know we can have clean sheets, and that is what we did against Stoke.’
Good form at Stamford Bridge was also addressed by Frank Lampard as he reflected on Saturday’s 3-0 win.
‘We are strong at home and we feel confident here, but to win the league you also have to do the other side which is win away games. We haven’t been too bad this season in general but we have lost a couple recently and when it is so tight at the top you can’t afford to do that.
‘We are very aware of the games in hand Man City have and how comfortable they are with winning at the moment, and Liverpool as well. So it is going to be tough because time is running out and it is frustrating that we have dropped a few points in games we could have played better in. We now just have to win all our games and see where that leaves us.
‘It wasn’t an easy game to approach against Stoke but we’ve done the perfect job,’ he added.
‘It took us the first 10 to 15 minutes to get into the game but once we started to, Salah was brilliant on the right. He was sharp throughout the game.
‘People expect it from Oscar and Hazard all the time but bringing in lads that were fresh was very positive for us.
‘Willian was absolutely brilliant. He was so sharp on the ball and his goal was the epitome of what he does better than anyone I think I’ve played with.’
Lampard’s second-half penalty may have been saved initially by Asmir Begovic but it proved too powerful to hold and the rebound chance was pounced upon by our vice-captain.
‘You have to react and thankfully it fell back perfectly for me,’ he said.
‘I’ve never had one like that in my career, the ones I have missed have been palmed the other way. There was relief. I haven’t taken a penalty for a while and it wasn’t my best one but you make your own luck and I’ve stayed in there and it went in.’
The goal was Lampard’s 211th for Chelsea which added to 38 for West Ham and one when on-loan at Swansea made it 250 club goals over the course of the 35-year-old’s career.
‘I had forgotten about that because I hadn’t scored for a while,’ he admitted. ‘I knew I was close and it is a nice round figure, a big figure. I would never have thought I’d get there when I started out playing professional football.’