LEICESTER CITY 1 CHELSEA 3
CHELSEA boss Jose Mourinho insists his side are the envy of English football after a ruthless second-half fightback at relegation-threatened Leicester last night moved the Blues one step closer to their Premier League coronation.
Winger Marc Albrighton gave Leicester a shock lead, only for veteran battering ram Didier Drogba to initiate a revival early in the second period which skipper John Terry and Brazil midfielder Ramires duly completed.
Victory over Crystal Palace on Sunday will see Chelsea claim their first Premier League title for five years, while 17th-placed Leicester, who lie a point clear of the relegation zone, have work to do to avoid an immediate return to the Championship.
Mourinho ended last season without a trophy having reprised his role in the Stamford Bridge hotseat and, despite already landing the Capital One Cup this term, the Portuguese has been criticised for his team’s lack of style and flair.
“My experience in football has taught me just to be worried about my own feelings and what I think and feel,” said Mourinho. “I know what I feel in relation to the work we have done in the last two years.
“I do not need other people to recognise what we did because I know exactly what we are and I think, in a very pragmatic way, we are what every team would like to be. I think it is phenomenal what they have done. Top of the league since day one.
“When I arrived two years ago, in terms of the Premier League, Chelsea was struggling. Last season we had an evolution. We were fighting for the title until the end. This season, absolutely magnificent and we are almost there. The boys need to be really proud of themselves.”
Following a tepid opening, the game burst into life five minutes before the break as Leicester full-back Paul Konchesky was denied by the recalled Petr Cech at the base of his post after forcing a right-wing cross towards goal. An almighty scramble ensued which saw midfielder Esteban Cambiasso, who won the 2010 Champions League under Mourinho at Inter Milan, fail to to trouble Cech as the ball looped back into the penalty area, while Albrighton’s effort was blocked.
Leicester were bidding to record a fifth successive top-flight victory for the first time since 1964 and surged into the lead on the stroke of half-time when Jamie Vardy’s low cross was fired beyond Cech by Albrighton.
The hosts’ advantage was short-lived and Chelsea levelled three minutes after the re-start when Drogba netted his first goal since December by firing a cutback from rampaging full-back Branislav Ivanovic across Foxes’ keeper Kasper Schmeichel.
Chelsea, who had trailed in a game for the first time since New Year’s Day, stormed into the lead with 12 minutes remaining when Terry poked home the rebound after Gary Cahill’s glancing header from a Fabregas corner had been clawed away by Schmeichel.
The points were made safe inside the final 10 minutes when Ramires lashed into the top corner from Fabregas’s 17th assist of the season.
AT A GLANCE
What it means
■ Chelsea are now 13 points clear and can secure their first Premier League title since 2010 with victory against Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Leicester remain one point above the drop zone and need to win three of their last four games to guarantee safety. They face relegation threatened Sunderland at the Stadium of Light in their penultimate fixture before another six-pointer at home to QPR on the final day.
Chelsea remaining games
■ Crystal Palace (h) 3 May; Liverpool (h) 10 May; West Bromwich Albion (a) 18 May; Sunderland (h) 24 May
Leicester remaining games
■ Newcastle United (h) 2 May; Southampton (h) 9 May; Sunderland (a) 16 May; Queens Park Rangers (h) 24 May