Premier League: Cesc’s Chelsea tonic leaves QPR sick

Frank Dalleres
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Cesc Fabregas struck in the 88th minute to restore Chelsea’s seven-point advantage

CHELSEA manager Jose Mourinho conceded his team had been lucky after needing a last-gasp winner from midfielder Cesc Fabregas to win the west London derby and inch closer to the Premier League title.

Queens Park Rangers looked to have earned a vital point in their battle to avoid relegation until the visitors punished goalkeeper Rob Green’s wayward clearance two minutes from time.

Fabregas’s goal restored Chelsea’s seven-point lead at the top – they also have a game in hand – and dented the faint hopes of a chasing pack that includes his former club Arsenal.

“Were we fortunate? Yes. It was a typical game for 0-0,” said Mourinho, who added that his team warranted special praise for being top of the table throughout the season.

“It’s not normal to be top of the league since day one. A team who arrives in August and is top of the league every day until April, that is the team that deserves the credit.”

QPR boss Chris Ramsey refused to blame Green for an error that left them 18th and two points from safety with just five games remaining.

“I am very disappointed in the manner we let the goal in,” he said. “I’m not blaming Rob for the goal. It wasn’t one of his best kicks but we had a long time to defend it properly and we didn’t. The reason I’m sitting here sick is we could have given the fans a big boost by getting a point here against a top team.”

Chelsea’s goal was their first shot on target, having struggled to penetrate revitalised Rangers without strikers Diego Costa and Loic Remy.

The visitors were indebted to goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, whose usual high standards had slipped in recent games, for two smart saves, from Charlie Austin and Matt Phillips either side of half-time.

Chelsea’s breakthrough came just as three points appeared to be slipping away. Eden Hazard seized upon Green’s short kick and darted down the left, swapping passes with substitute Oscar as he burst into the penalty area and laid off for Fabregas, arriving late in the box, to side-foot his third league goal of the season through a crowd.