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22 February 2024

Chelsea refuse to give up chase: Villas-Boas

Chelsea's Gary Cahill (left) sits on the bench with team mates during the Barclays Premier League match against Swansea City at Liberty Stadium on Tuesday in Swansea, Wales. (GETTY)


Andre Villas-Boas believes Chelsea are capable of closing the gap on the top three despite slipping seven points behind third-placed Spurs.

An own goal from Neil Taylor in stoppage time spared Chelsea's blushes after their former winger Scott Sinclair had given Swansea City the lead six minutes before half time.

Chelsea, who had Ashley Cole sent off four minutes from time, for a second yellow card, have now taken only two points from their last two games, against Norwich and Swansea.

"It is a gap that has grown tonight, but two weekends ago it was reduced," said Villas-Boas. "So, we go back to where we were before. A seven point gap is nothing in the Premiership.

"It is never satisfying only to get a point, but Tottenham are still within our reach and let us see what we can do from here.

"At the moment it makes no sense for me to speak about the league. We are competing for the Champions League and that is our main objective.

"We will face what will probably be the new league leaders, next weekend, and after that game, we can see if the first spot is within our reach or not."

Villas-Boas meanwhile was happy with Chelsea's transfer window dealings.

"We strengthened in the most important position and we have made a deal for Gary Cahill which we pursued for some time," he said. "That was what we needed for the squad."

Cahill started on the bench at the Liberty Stadium with Branislav Ivanovic preferred at the heart of the back four in the absence of John Terry.

"There has been solidarity in our defensive displays of late and the team has been playing well. Because of that, we decided not to change the dynamic of the team for this game.

"I spoke to Gary regarding decision and it was well taken."

Villas-Boas was happy with his side's overall performance and felt that his side could have gone on to win the game had they scored a little earlier in a one-sided second half.

"I think if the first goal had come a little bit earlier, a second might have come because of the motivation and momentum we would have had.

"But Swansea defended well and although we scored, we had no time to get the winning goal.

"I thought Swansea were excellent. Their style collides a bit with what is cultural in English football, but we have to praise it.

"I think first half we conceded the space to them and they are magnificent in finding those gaps. They play in between you, but when you press them it is more difficult for them."

Villas-Boas was not too despondent about another goalless night for Fernando Torres who has gone 1,000 minutes without scoring.

"I think the confidence is there. We have to persist with him and he helped the team today with his movement, his lay-offs and his passing.

"So again, it is the same situation, we have to continue creating enough opportunities, maybe more."

"Fernando and Didier Drogba are fighting for the striker's position so when Didier arrives back from the African Cup of Nations it will be further competition for Fernando."

Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers praised his side's attitude.

"I am very proud of the players and for them to feel so disappointed about not beating Chelsea, says it all.

"We will deal with the disappointment well. That's the third big club we have had here in a row and we have drawn twice and beaten Arsenal.

"You must remember also, that we have not lost two league games in a row all season. I think it is only us and Manchester City can say that. So, no, we won't have a hangover from the disappointment of this.

"That's an incredible record and although we will reflect on it tonight, it tells you about the mentality of this side."