CHELSEA manager Andre Villas-Boas dedicated last night’s Carling Cup victory to club captain John Terry.
The 30-year-old, currently being investigated by the Fooball Association following claims he racially abused QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, was rested ahead of Saturday’s London derby against Arsenal.
In his absence, Saloman Kalou put Chelsea ahead, benefiting from a goalkeeping error by Jan Mucha, after Nicolas Anelka missed an earlier penalty.
Everton appeared to have found a way back into the contest when Chelsea goalkeeper Ross Turnbull saw red when he tripped Louis Saha, but Petr Cech, with his first touch, saved Leighton Baines’ spot-kick.
Saha did level the match with five minutes remaining with a powerful header and there was still time for Denis Stracqualursi to miss a sitter before the additional 30 minutes commenced.
The tide turned back in Chelsea’s favour when Royston Drenthe was dismissed for a second bookable offence and Daniel Sturridge pounced with four minutes remaining to settle a pulsating match.
“It was a very strong performance and I think all the players would like to dedicate this victory to John Terry,” said the Chelsea manager.
“We were very committed, we showed resilience and strength of character once again.
“We went down to 10 men, unfortunately, once again and made things even more difficult but we were able to triumph in difficulty and these are good signs for us.
“We got one of the most difficult draws, Everton away with one of their strongest sides.
“They showed they wanted to go through this phase but we were able, not only to play good football, but show good commitment and desire.
“It shows we are progressing and it is very satisfying for everybody.”