Steve Holland addressed the media after this afternoon’s win at Swansea and spoke of the collective delight at picking up a fantastic three points.
Our assistant first team coach was asked by Jose Mourinho to fulfil the post-match media requirements after an away game that again looked like it might end frustratingly. We struggled to break down a resolute Swansea side that had been reduced to 10 men inside the opening 20 minutes, Chico Flores the man shown red for two fouls in quick succession.
Mohamed Salah had wasted a good chance when it was 11 against 11 and it was he who went closest to breaking the deadlock before the break when he thrashed over in added time. Substitute Samuel Eto’o, brought on at half-time along with Oscar, came close to prizing that crucial first goal but fired a glorious opportunity wide before his strike partner Ba, for the second time in six days, popped up with the vital goal.
We had plenty of opportunities to extend our lead on the counter as the home side tired but it still required a late save from Petr Cech, denying Jonjo Shelvey whose cross evaded everyone, to preserve our clean sheet and ensure we returned to London with all three points.
Holland was thrilled that we managed to pick up our first ever win at the Liberty Stadium…
‘Firstly from a personal point of view this is the fourth time I’ve been to this stadium with Chelsea to play Swansea and it’s the first time I’ve been on the winning side,’ said Holland. ‘It’s always a difficult fixture for us.
‘They’re a team based around keeping possession of the ball; they can frustrate you for long periods because it’s difficult to build pressure up against them. They are so good at keeping possession.
‘A combination of playing a good team that have a good way of playing, but also on the back of having a Champions League game in midweek which was very emotionally, physically and mentally draining you always worry about the impact that has on your next fixture, so it’s a fantastic three points for us and it was very much a case of getting over the line.’
For the second time this week Demba Ba proved the difference
‘He deserves that. He’s always working in training afterwards on his own. He wants to do different types of finishing and he deserves to have had the week he’s had, two very important goals. All credit to him.’
We played for over an hour against 10 men after Chico Flores was sent off
‘The two yellow card decisions were crystal clear, the referee was quite clearly correct on both counts. When the opposition go from 11 to 10 it has an impact clearly because they don’t have as much threat on your goal. In the second half they had one counter-attack when the shot hit John Terry on his chest and went out for a corner.
‘When you have the ball not a great deal changes, if anything it’s more difficult than it is when you play against a team that opens up against you and leaves space. It was difficult.
‘They always had their back four intact, always had their four midfielders intact and Bony dropped back into midfield to make up that extra player. In that situation it’s not that much different from normal.’
Mourinho brought on Oscar and Samuel Eto’o during the interval
‘We were trying to find the gaps in the wide positions and get more bodies in the box. That was very much the thinking behind the changes at half-time.
‘We didn’t need the three midfield players we had started the game with. We could play with two up and try and create more pressure by having the extra presence up front.’
League leaders Liverpool defeated Man City in the day’s early kick-off
‘Not much has changed. We’re five points clear of Man City who have two games more to play. If they win all their matches they finish ahead of Chelsea. It’s been a good day for Liverpool and it looks like being an exciting conclusion to the season for everybody.
‘We have probably got to win all of our games one way or another; we’ve been facing that task since our result at Crystal Palace. Any leeway we had was eliminated after that result.’
We’ve have no midweek game so our next fixture is this weekend, at home to Sunderland
‘We have a very good injury situation – every player is fit with the exception of Eden. He should be back sooner rather than later, it’s still a little bit too early to say for sure.
‘Having a clear week this week is a big advantage. I can’t stress enough the extra demand the Champions League brings. It’s just what the doctor ordered this week to have the chance to give the players a bit of a break.’