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Tuesday 13 December 2011

Villas-Boas targets Chelsea title challenge

Blues manager believes his team are back in the race after beating Man City

Andre Villas-Boas and his Chelsea staff celebrate their 2-1 win against Manchester City

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas believes his team are right back in the race for the Barclays Premier League title after their 2-1 win over leaders Manchester City.

The Blues came from a goal behind to condemn City to their first defeat of the season at Stamford Bridge on Monday, with Raul Meireles and a Frank Lampard penalty proving decisive.

The win lifts Chelsea to third and means they are now only seven points behind City, who face Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

"Seven points behind in this League with so many teams competing for the title is nothing"
- Andre Villas-Boas

"Seven points behind in this League with so many teams competing for the title is nothing," said Villas-Boas. "To shorten it to seven is good for us, but we must continue to perform.

"In the next couple of weeks, City play Arsenal and we play Tottenham, and for our title challenge to stay alive we have to be competent right throughout December.

"We need to build on what we are doing. After our bad run we found confidence which grew game by game and we put on a very good show against the leaders."

Villas-Boas praised his side's mental fortitude, winning against a City team that was unbeaten and had scored 48 goals in 14 matches prior to their trip to Chelsea, and then took the lead through Mario Balotelli with less than two minutes gone.

"Going 1-0 down so early made things very difficult because it gave Man City even more motivation and belief," added the Portuguese manager. "So it was good strength of character and resilience shown once again to make it 1-1.

"In the second half both teams were trying to find a mistake that would change the result and we did well to find that detail. We grew in terms of motivation, we pushed them back and we were creating opportunities. It paid off for us.

"It was a bad run of results that needed a change and we got the change in the most massive matches that we had to face. The players deserve credit for going past this period."

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Key Points

  • Chelsea beat League leaders Man City 2-1
  • Blues are now seven points away from top spot
  • Villas-Boas confident team can mount title challenge