Although the 2-1 scoreline itself might claim otherwise, Chelsea put in a great effort for earning all three points against the Eagles of Crystal Palace this weekend at Stamford Bridge. With 11 shots on target versus 3, the Blues could have easily earned at least a draw, were it not for heroic efforts from defender Mamadou Sakho and the great work by goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.
Though striker Diego Costa did not have a particularly good game, he and his teammates still put in a lot of good work to try to come up with a better result. Unfortunately, the ball refused to go in. After the game, he reflected on the outcome in an interview with Brazilian media.
"[Yesterday] was a day where the ball was not going to enter [the goal]. We started off well, we scored and in two counter-attacking plays they managed to get two goals. They have two good players upfront and knew how to utilize it the best way they could. Afterwards they got behind the ball, we created opportunities and the ball did not go in."
"Obviously, as time passes by in the second half you do not go forward with a clear head. You go on with effort and will, but things do not solve themselves this way. At least we tried, and we did everything we could to get a draw."
"It was an important match for us because after this game we have a derby against Manchester City. But now it is not the time to let ourselves down. We should keep our heads up and think ahead for the next game since it will be very important."
The loss to Crystal Palace has only added to the pressure on Chelsea for the next game, Wednesday night against Manchester City — a six-point affair, according to Diego, given the high stakes.
"A derby will always be an important game. After a loss at home and with a rival closing the gap this importance only grows. We know this game against Manchester City will be a six-point affair since if we win the game they will [practically] be out of the title race while we keep the advantage."
"It also depends on the match between Tottenham and Swansea. In any case, we will do our best. We hope that the next game the ball will go in, and that we do a better job at handling these counter-attacking plays so we do not suffer from early goals again, and thus avoid what happened [yesterday]."
-Diego Costa; source: ESPN Brasil
Any other day, Chelsea's game plan would have worked out against Palace. But we will have to execute better against Manchester City, starting with Diego himself, leading the line.