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By ESPN Staff

Carvalho: Chelsea must win trophy this season

Ricardo Carvalho believes Chelsea are showing the strength of character to make their double dream a reality.

The Portugal defender was outstanding as Chelsea ground out a crucial victory at Everton on Thursday night to cut Manchester United's lead at the top of the Premier League to just two points.

And he insists he is relishing the next three vital matches - starting on Tuesday against Liverpool at Anfield in the Champions League semi-final.

That is followed by a virtual title decider the following Saturday at home to Manchester United, with the return against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge four days later.

Carvalho insists Chelsea will cope with the three pressure matches.

He said: 'After we only drew with Wigan on Monday it was obvious that the Everton game was too important a match for us not to play well and show our strength.

'We needed to show our character and prove that it is still possible for us to win the title.

'For us the only way that this can be described as a successful season will be for us to win a trophy, we want the Champions League and we still want the title.

'We must win something, a trophy now is very important for us and we are still in there fighting.'

Michael Essien's first-half strike set up Chelsea to produce their renowned functional, efficient style that underlined that the race for domestic and European honours is not beyond them.

Carvalho said: 'We have very important games now coming up. We have Liverpool next in the Champions League, then we have Manchester United and then Liverpool again. They will not be easy, but we will be ready.

'We must handle each one. In the Champions League it is very important that we get to the final, then it is Manchester United, and we can still win the title.

'We will be back here (in Liverpool) on Tuesday, and every time you play Liverpool it is a tough game, it is difficult for both sides. But this time we have the second-leg back at Stamford Bridge, that is crucial.

'The previous times we have played them in the Champions League semi-finals, the second match has been at Anfield and that is a big advantage for them. This time it is different, it is at Stamford Bridge.

'That will be crucial for us, I have great confidence. But we do enjoy playing at Anfield, it is a great atmosphere and we have big players who can handle that.

'Our top players are doing well, Michael Essien scored again and he is on fire playing from midfield, he will be important for us at Anfield.

'But then our midfield is playing well, Joe Cole, Kalou, Obi Mikel, they all did well at Everton and give us great confidence.'

Chelsea were the better side at Goodison Park, despite still missing Frank Lampard, Michael Ballack and Didier Drogba.

Now Chelsea can sit back and see how Manchester United respond when they play at Blackburn on Saturday evening.

Carvalho said: 'We have played first this weekend and won, so now Manchester United must respond.

'We will be waiting now to see what happens in their next game, but we have won and we are obviously pleased.

'We had to keep the pressure on them. A draw would have been no good at all, it was important to win our game.

'We were five points behind and anything less than a win would have made winning the Premier League very difficult.

'It was only 1-0, and I suppose there was the threat that Everton could have done what Wigan did on Monday with a late equaliser. Sometimes that can happen, so you have to focus on the game and make sure if anybody scores again, it is you.

'But at least we did not concede. Everton have strong strikers, but our back four played very well.'