Chelsea nearly there

Eden Hazard declared “we are nearly there” as Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte targeted six wins in the final eight games to clinch the Premier League title.

Hazard scored twice in Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Manchester City as Chelsea responded to the defeat to Crystal Palace to maintain a seven-point lead over second-placed Tottenham.

“It is a big win,” the Belgian playmaker told BT Sport.

“I don’t know if the way we played was beautiful but the most important thing is to win games.

“I think the way we played we can do better but after a defeat it’s good to come back here and win three points.

“We are nearly there but there is a long way to go. We have eight games to play. We want to finish top. That’s the target. We have some difficult games but we are ready for everything.”

Chelsea showed resilience fighting off City.

Goalkeeping errors contributed to the opening goals as Hazard shot through Willy Caballero and Thibaut Courtois gifted City an equaliser, scored by Sergio Aguero.

Hazard saw a penalty saved by Caballero, but tucked in the follow-up to give Chelsea a 2-1 half-time lead which they would not relinquish.

Chelsea face Bournemouth next and Conte called on Hazard and his team-mates to make the season a memorable one.

Conte said: “Tottenham could win eight games. For this reason to win the title we need 18 points. I think this is the best way for us (to think).

“(Hazard) is an important player. Also he’s growing in his mentality. I think he’s playing a really good season.

“This season for all my players, for me, we will remember this season if we win.

“We must be focused and try to win six games and take three points (six times). If we are able to do this, we will win the title.

“Otherwise it will be a good season, but not a great season. We will remember this season if we win. Usually I like to say only who wins write the history.”

Pep Guardiola, previously in charge at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, had never experienced home and away championship defeats to the same opposition manager in the same season. Now he has.

John Stones spurned a stoppage-time opportunity to equalise for City, who must now recalibrate and focus on securing Champions League qualification.

Guardiola believes his side were superior at the Etihad Stadium in December, when Chelsea won 3-1, and at Stamford Bridge, but were beaten by “the details” in the penalty areas.

Guardiola, who felt City’s performance was better than in Sunday’s draw at Arsenal, said: “Absolutely (City were better than Chelsea). But it’s not enough.

“They got six points. We got zero. Football is results. I’m happier than the Arsenal game when we got one point.

“The way we played, I’m so satisfied. I’m a lucky guy to be here with them.

“The Premier League is gone and in the last eight games, we have to think to qualify for the Champions League.”

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