Malouda retains title hope
Florent Malouda has urged Chelsea to put "everything" into winning their last five games of the season in the hope of completing one of the greatest ever Premier League title comebacks.
The Blues gave themselves a glimmer of hope of retaining their crown after beating Birmingham 3-1 to move up to second in the table, six points adrift of Manchester United.
Malouda, who netted twice in Wednesday's game, knows even maximum points in the run-in may ultimately prove futile, but with a trip to Old Trafford to come and United also having to travel to third-placed Arsenal, the destiny of the title has still to be decided.
"The title race is open for the three teams," Malouda told his club's official website. "We have no choice but to win every game to put pressure on Man United.
"They have to play at Arsenal but we have to play our part by winning our games. We have to stay humble. We know where we are coming from.
"We had difficult moments we had to overcome to come back to the second place and now we have to play at our best level. We have to give everything until the end of the season."
After all but surrendering the title midway through the season thanks to their worst run in the league for almost 15 years, Chelsea are now the form team in the division, taking 19 points from the last 21.
Malouda has also rediscovered his touch, scoring three times in the last four games following a mid-season slump to equal his best Premier League tally of 12 goals.
"Mentally and physically I feel strong again," Malouda said. "When you score two goals in a game, you feel you are back to your best form.
"Maybe it is because we have fewer games to play and we have more time to prepare, but I am working hard in training to prepare the best of my form and have the result in the games."
Malouda's second goal against Birmingham was set up by Ryan Bertrand, who made an instant impact after coming off the bench for his long-awaited Chelsea debut.
Malouda said: "That is a great moment for him. He did his defensive job perfectly and gave me that perfect ball and I was really happy. That will give him a lot of confidence for the future."