Jesus Navas has dismissed suggestions Chelsea have already won the title, and insists Manchester City can still overhaul the current leaders.
Jose Mourinho’s side edged past Stoke City 2-1 on Saturday evening to further cement their hold at the head of the Premier League table, where they now have a seven-point advantage over second-place Arsenal with a game in hand. Reigning champions City, meanwhile, have slipped back to fourth position, and have fallen nine points off the leaders with eight games left to play.
Manuel Pellegrini’s team will look to reduce this deficit on Monday night when they travel to the capital to take on Crystal Palace, in a match they simply must win to stand any chance of retaining the title they won on the final day of last season. Navas has refused to accept the challenge is now beyond the Blues, and insists there will be more twists and turns before the medals are handed out.
“The key is to win all the remaining games and I’m sure Chelsea will drop points,” he said. “We need to strive for excellence and we need to win all our remaining fixtures. We have the squad to do so. We are ready to face the challenge. We have to fight until the last minute of the last game to win it. It’s going to be difficult but we’ll give everything we have to try and win the Premier League again.”
Even if City win at Selhurst Park to close the gap to six points, Chelsea still have a game in hand which is at home to bottom-placed Leicester City. Mourinho knows his side have to win just five more games, and draw one, to win a first league title since 2010, although they will likely have to do this without leading goalscorer Diego Costa who has suffered a recurrence of his hamstring injury.
As much as losing the Spaniard will be a blow to the Stamford Bridge club, they can at least call upon the brilliant Eden Hazard who scored one and created the other in the 2-1 win over Stoke. The Belgium international told Sky Sports: “We are confident. We are first in the league and we take game after game. We have the title in our hands. We want to bring the trophy to Stamford Bridge.”