The numerical advantage Chelsea enjoyed for much of yesterday’s win at Swansea meant it was a quieter afternoon than usual for Petr Cech and John Terry, the defensive duo helping us to a first clean sheet in eight away from home.
Though we were only able to take one of the many chances we created in South Wales it was enough to secure a precious away Premier League victory, all the more important considering it came on the back of recent disappointments on the road at Aston Villa and Crystal Palace. As they considered the result, both Cech and Terry highlighted the difficulties a side a man light can pose.
‘When you play against 10 men they usually have nothing to lose,’ Cech explained. ‘When you play a big team like Chelsea most people don’t expect anything from their team anyway so if you have a good result everyone enjoys it.
‘Swansea fought for their glory and for anything they could possibly get out of the game. There was a period in the second half when we had so many counter-attacks we should have done better to kill the game but they made it difficult for us.’
‘Patience was the key after they had the man sent off not long into the game,’ assessed Terry. ‘At times we weren’t patient and we weren’t at our best but we got the three points and we’ll take them home with us.
‘We knew the score [from the Liverpool v Man City game earlier in the day] and looking at the result it was probably the one we wanted even though Liverpool are flying. The manager said before our game regardless of that result, if we don’t win our game we will make it very easy for them. We won our game and the pressure’s still on the teams above and below us.’
Our skipper also gave his verdict on the red card decision, Phil Dowd sending off Swansea’s Chico Flores early in the first half.
‘If it’s a minute, two minutes or five minutes into the game it doesn’t matter,’ stressed Terry. ‘I am speaking as a Chelsea player but when you sit back and look at it, it is two yellows.
‘Fair play to the ref, it’s a big decision to make early on and I thought he made the right one. He gave him a yellow before on the halfway line and that one just outside the box was probably even more of a yellow. Thankfully we managed to take advantage even though Swansea did well. If they continue to play like that I’m sure they’ll be okay.’
Our victory coupled with Liverpool’s against Manchester City keeps England’s top three teams within touching distance of one another. With just four games to go and having played key roles in title run-ins in years gone by both Cech and Terry are well-placed to give their verdict on what promises to be a thrilling climax to the season.
‘It’s very tough but it’s very important we keep winning our games,’ Terry said. ‘It’s out of our hands at the moment. We still need City to draw or lose a game and we still have to go to Anfield so it’s a massive end to the season for everyone.
‘The manager won’t let us run away with it. We’ve got a few days to prepare for the Sunderland game and that’s our big focus now. They’re fighting to survive relegation and between relegation and fighting for the title we have to be hungrier than them.’
‘We are in a situation where if we win all of our games we might have a chance,’ contemplated Cech, meanwhile.
‘We will concentrate on ourselves and we know if we win our four games we might have a chance. If we don’t, it will become more difficult because time is running out. For the neutral fans I think this is the best that could happen in the Premier League because it will be really tight until the last game.’