Monday 19 February 2018

Nemanja Matic keen to see Chelsea extend winning run

Nemanja Matic hopes Chelsea can yet finish in the European places
Nemanja Matic hopes Chelsea can yet finish in the European places
Chelsea's Nemanja Matic

Nemanja Matic wants Chelsea to finish the season with a flourish and a 13-game winning streak which could see them break into the Premier League's European places.

Not content with three wins in a row after the 2-1 win at Norwich, Matic is targeting victory in the remaining 10 games, too.

Chelsea, last season's champions, climbed to eighth with the win, five points adrift of fifth-placed Manchester United and eight adrift of fourth-placed Manchester City.

"It's very important to win games," Matic told Chelsea TV.

"We're a big team and we have to do this if we want to be closer to the first four. It's very difficult to catch them, but we'll try our best to win every game.

"I think we can be in the first six, but we will try to win every game. I know it's difficult, maybe impossible, but in football anything can happen.

"We will go game by game, step by step, and we will see in the end where we finish in the league."

Defender Gary Cahill reflected on a match in which Kenedy gave Chelsea a first-minute lead - his strike after 39 seconds the quickest goal of the Premier League season so far - and which was decided by Diego Costa's goal from an offside position.

Costa's strike was decisive, rendering Nathan Redmond's goal in a strong second-half showing by the Canaries mere consolation as Norwich dropped into the relegation zone.

Cahill told Chelsea TV: "Momentum's the word, to keep going and try to get results.

"We're happy we got over the line, we're happy we've dug out a result that at the start of the season we may not have (done).

"We knew it was going to be difficult, we knew they were struggling, but (the) second half certainly showed they've got enough fight and quality to stay in this league."

Norwich were beaten and bruised.

Midfielder Alex Tettey went to hospital for a precautionary X-Ray on a leg injury, while Gary O'Neil needed stitches following a clash of heads which saw Robbie Brady lose two teeth and chip another.

Forward Steven Naismith was absent as a precaution ahead of Saturday's clash at Swansea. That fixture has added importance, given Norwich's predicament.

Norwich boss Alex Neil said of his fellow Scot: "He was just carrying a slight niggle. His scores are down in the tests we do on the players so that suggests he is not well.

"He has not played three (full) games (in a row) in two years at Everton so obviously we have a huge game on Saturday and it would have been a huge risk to play him in this one and it wasn't one I was prepared to take."

Press Association

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