Chelsea captain Gary Cahill believes the Premier League title race will be decided during the final few games of the season.
Antonio Conte’s men showed their strength in-depth and desire after they bounced back from a 2-0 defeat to Tottenham, by overpowering Premier League champions Leicester City 3-0 at the King Power Stadium.
Two goals from full back Marcos Alonso in the first half, and a late strike from Pedro sealed the three points which moved Chelsea seven points clear of Spurs in second.
Cahill admits a dominant performance was much-needed after their 13-game unbeaten run was halted at White Hart Lane, and accepts it’s going to be a gruelling campaign.
“It’s all about bouncing back,” the 31-year-old said. “You know, sometimes a result goes against you and it’s how you react after that.”
“We’re not complacent at all. I think we showed that today in our work-rate, the way we went about the game. It’s going to be tough, it’s going to go the very end.”
Mauricio Pochettino’s in-form Spurs briefly narrowed Chelsea’s gap to four points after their 4-0 thrashing of West Brom at White Hart Lane on Saturday afternoon.
Spurs have now won six Premier League games in a row – a 1-0 loss at Manchester United on December 11 remains their last defeat, but the Chelsea skipper hints that another impressive run may be around the corner after showing their mental strength against Leicester.
“Mental state and everything you know, we prepared well for this game and we produced a great performance I thought,” Cahill said.
“Some teams are in good form at the minute so we need to keep that gap if we possibly can, and produce performances again like that, you know, hopefully this is the start of another run.”
Antonio Conte left out Diego Costa at the King Power Stadium – the Spaniard has netted 14 Premier League goals this campaign.
During the few days leading up to the game, Costa complained of a back injury, which caused fitness coach Julio Tous to question the severity of the injury.
Costa has been linked with a jaw-dropping, stupendously lucrative deal to the Chinese Super League, where Tianjin Quanjian have reportedly offered a £30m-a-year contract after tax.
The 28-year-old is rumoured to be unsettled at Stamford Bridge after the news and didn’t travel to Leicester. Cahill reaffirmed the side’s depth of talent and suggests there will always be world class players at Chelsea to do the business.
“Diego’s a massive player for us, you’ve seen this season,” he said. “He wasn’t there today, we managed to put Pedro, Hazard and Willian up there so you try and defend against them three boys, it’s very difficult.
“We’re blessed to have talent like that. Someone’s missing, then someone comes in and produces performance like that. We’re delighted with the result.”