Eden Hazard believes a professional 3-1 win at Bournemouth showed leaders Chelsea are up to passing the tests ahead of them in the Premier League title race.
With Tottenham having narrowed the gap to four points with a 4-0 win at Watford, Chelsea’s lead was cut to four points ahead of the late kick-off at the Vitality Stadium.
But Diego Costa’s shot deflected in off Adam Smith to give Chelsea the lead and Hazard quickly added a second, with Marcos Alonso’s free-kick wrapping up the points after Joshua King’s reply.
Hazard insisted Chelsea did enough to collect a third straight win away from home in the league, although they came under pressure at times from Eddie Howe’s side.
“We passed the test,” Hazard told BT Sport. “We knew the result of Tottenham before the game, so the only thing [they could do] to stay at seven points was to win. We scored three good goals and we deserved to win.
“It’s easier to control the game when you score first. At the end of the first half, we were a little bit down. They scored one goal, but after half-time we did well and controlled the game. We are happy.
“We have to believe. This is one step closer to the title. We have seven games to play and we are ready for the seven games.”
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 8, 2017
Smith insisted there was a hint of fortune about Chelsea’s opener, which beat Artur Boruc after taking a large deflection off his head.
“I felt myself in a good position to block the shot and he shanked it really and it hit my head and went in,” the Bournemouth defender told BBC Sport. “When we went 2-0 down it was a mountain to climb from there.
“We showed character, we didn’t give up and we fought until the end but they just had a bit too much for us. We were a bit tired towards the end and they’re a top team, that’s why they’re top of the table but we’ll bounce back next week.”
75 – Chelsea have won as many points this season as it took to win the league exactly 20 years ago (Man Utd, 75 points in 96-97). Evolution.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 8, 2017
Alonso’s free-kick came at a vital time for Chelsea with Bournemouth pushing for a leveller in the second half, but the defender’s fifth league goal of the season saw his side home.
“We talked about going for the third goal at half-time,” Alonso told BT Sport. “It was third time lucky, after two times hitting the crossbar, it went in. I’m very happy.”
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!