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Chelsea keeper Courtois: We have to move on after defeat

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Newcastle United's Papiss Demba Cisse (R) scores the opening goal past Chelsea's Thibaut Courtois during their English Premier League soccer match in Newcastle,

Newcastle United's Papiss Demba Cisse (R) scores the opening goal past Chelsea's Thibaut Courtois during their English Premier League soccer match in Newcastle,

Newcastle United's Papiss Demba Cisse (R) scores the opening goal past Chelsea's Thibaut Courtois during their English Premier League soccer match in Newcastle,

Thibaut Courtois has urged his Chelsea team-mates to put their first defeat of the season behind them to cement their place at the top of the Premier League table.

The Blues ended up on the wrong end of the scoreline for the first time in 22 games in all competitions at Newcastle on Saturday as substitute Papiss Cisse's second-half double secured a 2-1 victory for the Magpies.

However, keeper Courtois insists they must forget the disappointment of defeat at St James' Park as they prepare for Wednesday night's Champions League clash with Sporting Lisbon before turning their attention to Hull's visit to Stamford Bridge and the business of winning the title.

The 22-year-old said: "That's the most important, that we are still leaders and from the next game on, we will fight to keep that bonus up and make the gap bigger.

"There are only difficult games in the Premier League and we know that. The next game is in the Champions League at home and then against Hull, we have to win in front of our fans."

WONDERING

Chelsea, who have now lost on their last three league visits to St James' Park, left the north east for the second time in a week wondering how they were doing so without three points after dominating for long periods just as they had done at Sunderland seven days earlier, when they emerged with a 0-0 draw.

On this occasion, however, their inability to turn pressure into tangible reward was punished by their hosts, who defended manfully before striking decisively on the counter.

The deadlock was broken with 57 minutes gone when Cisse, who had only been on the pitch for four minutes, slid home Sammy Ameobi's cross after Gary Cahill could only help the ball into his path.

Chelsea immediately launched a fightback and came desperately close to an equaliser with 12 minutes remaining when Eden Hazard's shot came back off the post with Newcastle's third-choice keeper Jak Alnwick, who had replaced the injured Rob Elliot at the break, beaten for the first time.

But worse was to follow as the Magpies turned defence into attack for Moussa Sissoko to play in Cisse for his second.

Substitute Didier Drogba gave the visitors hope when, after defender Steven Taylor had been dismissed for a second bookable offence, he glanced home an 83rd-minute Cesc Fabregas free-kick, but despite having 13 minutes, including six of stoppage time, in which to find an equaliser, they could not manage to beat debutant Alnwick again.

Courtois said: "Obviously we are disappointed with the result. We tried our best to win this game, and it was a hard game. We were a little bit unlucky.

"At 2-0, it's harder. We tried to fight back, we scored to make it 2-1, but then the ball wouldn't fall right for us and we couldn't draw this game and maybe then win it, so obviously we are disappointed.

"But we will work hard again tomorrow in training to win the following games. Everybody worked hard and gave it all on the pitch to win this game, but we know here it is difficult and we went down against them.

"It was a hard game, but we have to stay positive. We are still leaders, but we know these games to be champions you have to win, so from the next game on, we will try our best to win all the games if possible."

Jose Mourinho later ranted about the young Newcastle ball-boys not returning the ball quickly enough. The main problem, in the 94th minute, came when Branislav Ivanovic had smashed a shot into the Leazes End. That shot, and the crowd's reluctance to return the ball, saw Mourinho throw on a second ball.

ENTHUSIASM

Around that same time a ball went into the Milburn Stand and a young Newcastle ball-boy going way beyond the level of expectation to get it back. At some clubs he would have been asked to explain his enthusiasm. Still, it drew the ire of Mourinho, largely because something had to.

"Sometimes there were two balls,'' he said. "And it is not possible to play with two balls. Sometimes there was zero balls and that also helps to cut the dynamic of the team who is trying to win the game.

"The referee can't punish the ball-boy who disappeared with the ball, and the referee couldn't punish the people in the crowd who kept the ball.''

That leaves the question what the people who kept the ball longer than anyone, his players, actually did with it.


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