Chelsea captain John Terry says he never gave up hope of winning the Premier League title as he targets a victory at Old Trafford at the weekend to overtake the leaders.
Manchester United's away defeat at Arsenal on Sunday ensured the gap between the league leaders and second-placed Chelsea stayed at three points after Carlo Ancelotti's side edged past Tottenham 2-1 on Saturday, with the top two now locked on an identical goal difference of 38.
A Chelsea win at Old Trafford would give them the advantage in the title race with two games remaining and Terry has backed his side to complete an unlikely turnaround and retain their Premier League crown, an achievement he feels would rank alongside their first title under Jose Mourinho.
"It would certainly be up there, along with when we won it for the first time in 50 years," Terry said. "There have been times when they were running away with it. United were 18 points clear at one point [actually 15 on 1 March] which I thought made them out of sight, so to get it down to three points shows what we've done. We certainly never give up and this is the ideal situation for us.
"United have still got some tough games to go. If we go there and lose, then fair play to them, but they know we're certainly capable of going there and getting a result. The manager's done the right job, kept the players hungry, and all the supporters have been like that as well - they've never let us give up and think it was over.
"There's no bigger spur than going to Old Trafford and winning to put ourselves right in the frame for bringing the Premier League trophy back to the Bridge. It's the feeling that will drive us on."
Chelsea's resurgence has seen them win eight of their past nine league games and they are the form side in the division at the moment, though United defeated them home and away in the Champions League quarter-finals during that run.
Ancelotti's side travelled to Old Trafford last season and secured a crucial 2-1 victory that helped them lift the Premier League title by a single point from United and Terry says the Blues will do the same again this term, insisting he always believed they were capable of hunting down the 18-time champions.
"I always believed," Terry said. "Through the season you have good spells, some not so good spells and some bad patches as well. At the start of the season, we had our best spell. There was no doubt we'd have a bad one, and it was about coming out of that as soon as we could.
"It took us a few weeks to do that but once we did we've shown a turn of form at the right time. That's five wins now since we lost to United [in the Champions League quarter-final first leg] and all we could do was keep winning and putting the pressure on. They're a very good side with great experience.
"They've got players who have experience and have been there and done it. Maybe that could be their key, but we've got everybody fit and have kept winning - we're playing well and digging out results. I think it's very tight ... maybe advantage them because it's at Old Trafford. When they came here in the league we showed what we're all about as a side, going a goal down and coming back to win that game, which has proved to be vital now."