Chelsea captain John Terry believes the Blues have managed to keep the pressure on Liverpool and Manchester City with Sunday’s 1-0 victory over Swansea at the Liberty Stadium.
• Delaney: Title race tilts again
Liverpool's dramatic 3-2 win against third-placed City saw Brendan Rodgers' men pull five points clear at the top of the Premier League table, but Chelsea cut that gap to just two points by downing the Swans through Demba Ba's second-half strike in South Wales.
Terry, 33, who watched his defensive counterpart Chico Flores pick up a red card after 16 minutes, revealed Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho had demanded his players ignore the result at Anfield to focus on their own performances.
Terry told Sky Sports 1: “We obviously knew about it and looking at the result, it's probably the one we wanted. It was important, as the manager said before the game, that we knew that regardless of that result if we don't win our games we'll make it very easy for them.
“But we've won our game and the pressure is still on the teams above and below us. I think patience was the key today especially after they had their man sent off not long into the game. Sometimes we weren't patient or at our best but we got the three points today and we'll take them home.''
Ba, who scored the goal that ensured Chelsea's progression to the Champions League semifinals at the expense of Paris Saint-Germain in midweek, was pleased to make another winning contribution after spending much of the season on the bench.
“Not a bad week,'' he said. “I'm happy for the team, for me and for my family. I never stopped believing. I knew that the manager always likes to keep three strikers and in a moment like this I knew I would get the opportunity to come in and do something."
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho opted not to attend his postmatch news conference, handing the job instead to assistant coach Steve Holland.
“Jose asked me to do it," Holland said, without offering any further explanation. “It is something I have done a few times this year, and it is something I am more than happy to do it when he asks me.
“It [Swansea away] has always been a difficult fixture for us. They are a team that is very much based around keeping possession of the ball, and they can frustrate you for long periods because it is difficult to build pressure up against them.
“On the back of a Champions League game in midweek, which is emotionally, physically and mentally draining, you always worry about the impact that has on your next fixture. It is a fantastic three points for us, and very much a case of getting over the line, really.''
Holland added: “Not much has changed. We are five points clear of Manchester City, and they have two games more to play than us. If Manchester City win all their matches, they finish ahead of Chelsea. Obviously, it has been a good day for Liverpool, and it looks like being an exciting conclusion to the season. We have probably got to win all of our games, one way or another. That's the likelihood, but we have been facing that task now for a good couple of weeks, certainly on the back of our result at Crystal Palace. I think any leeway we had was eliminated after that result.''
Swansea boss Garry Monk was disappointed his side -- now only three points clear of the relegation zone -- had failed to take anything from the game, but praised their battling attitude.
Ba's goal arrived in the 68th minute after the striker capitalised on a fortuitous deflection off defender Ashley Williams and Monk felt there were “too many mistakes” in the build-up.
He said: “Obviously it doesn't help going down to 10 men against a Chelsea side who have good players but I thought we were great today. We managed to get through to half-time and rearranged a little bit, and the commitment and desire to stay in that game and not be beaten was there in abundance.
“Unfortunately it was a poor goal for us, a few too many mistakes and we should have saved it. But I can't have too many complaints, they were very good. I think we deserved it for the effort we put in: the defending, the bodies, people throwing themselves on the line, that's what you need. I think that's what you need in the situation we are now in.
“Now we have to dust ourselves down and take that attitude into the last four games.''
Swansea face Newcastle, Aston Villa, Southampton and Sunderland over the season run-in.
“We're not safe and in desperate need of points but I've told the players not to walk out of that dressing room disappointed because of what they've given me today,'' Monk said. “If we take that attitude into the last four games then I'm sure we'll be fine.''
Monk added: "Unfortunately, we have come away on a couple of occasions with nothing, but I've just said to them if we show exactly what we have done for the last four games then we will have no problems. We are not in a good position. We are not secure, and with four games left that's not the position you want to be in. It's in our hands, but we have to do something quickly and get something out of the next game.''