On Wednesday, Chelsea managed to put together a pretty good first half. On Sunday, we managed to put together a pretty good second half. Unfortunately, neither half brought any goals, and thus we've had to settle for draws. Draws are something we've become quite familiar with lately (4 in the last 6; 5 in the last 9), and the manager wasn't too happy about yet another one.
"A draw at home against Southampton is not a good result but the other perspective is now we have a lead of six points to the second place who have one less game to play."
‘We started today's game well. The penalty changed the rest of the first half, the players felt it and we stopped playing and made a few mistakes. Southampton scared us a couple of times with counter attacks. But in the second half, especially from the moment Ramires came on, we killed their counter-attacks and they felt that, and after that we had complete control of the game. We created lots of chances to win the game but we didn't."
"I'm happy with the way the players recovered the balance, tactically and emotionally, even knowing that this point put our lead to six points. Despite that the team tried to win."
"I am not jumping with happiness and I am not crying with disappointment."
Chelsea were much improved in the second half and were it not for Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster's magic gloves, we could've had two or three, even. Oscar was denied twice, Costa hit the post, Cuadrado and Hazard were both kept out from close range -- it turned into "one of those days," especially when Terry's double-chance first flew into his own man and then, from the rebound, cackled wide, spinning with mocking laughter into the Matthew Harding.
And while we could lament yet another penalty not given (Ivanovic's ankle getting clearly trod on, drawing a theatrical* crash to the ground from the right back), we were perhaps lucky to not lose Nemanja Matic to another red card. Incidentally, Mourinho's little joke of Matic perhaps not being as indispensable as everyone thinks he is, surprisingly, showed a hint of truth today.
"When that penalty is given you have to believe that a second yellow card could come [for Matic]. Against fast people like Mane coming out of midfield driving the ball, if you remember the second yellow card Ramires got against Aston Villa last season, obviously you are afraid."
While it probably helped that Southampton's pressing and effort levels dropped visibly, Ramires solidifying the midfield instead of Matic sure has a strange sound to it. But it seemed to work against all expectations, and from that point on, it really looked only one team was ever going to win it. Alas, it was not meant to be.
Still, as we move one game closer to the end of the season, the 5-point lead has now increased to a 6-point lead, with a game-in-hand still remaining. The magic number is 22. Hull City are up next, followed by a two-week break. We'll be fine.
"We are not complacent, I am not afraid of that."
"If somebody told me in August that in March we are six points in front with one game in hand, I would sign for that immediately, no doubts."
* though certainly not nearly as hilariously theatrical as the one with which he bought a foul off of Graziano Pellè towards the end of the game