'We can't give up on top four now,' says Olivier Giroud

Olivier Giroud has refused to let Chelsea give up on even the slightest chance of Champions League qualification.

The substitute struck twice as Chelsea scored three times in eight minutes for a 3-2 comeback victory at Southampton.

The France striker then channelled that never-say-die spirit again when insisting the Blues cannot admit defeat in their top-four quest, despite still trailing fourth-placed Tottenham by seven points.

"As long as mathematically it is going to be possible, we are going to believe," said Giroud.

"So we take the games one by one and we have maybe five or six finals to play. Let's do the job and we will see what the other teams do."

Relegation-threatened Southampton stunned Chelsea by sweeping into a two-goal lead thanks to strikes from Dusan Tadic and Jan Bednarek.

The Blues turned the game on its head thanks to Giroud's smart brace, however, and another neat finish from Eden Hazard.

Giroud hailed his first two league goals for Chelsea and then paid tribute to the character of Antonio Conte's men.

"Obviously I was waiting for that," Giroud told Chelsea's official website of his first Premier League goals for the Blues.

"I have tried so many times to put it in the back of the net. When you are a striker you need to keep going and keep your confidence high, even if I have been playing a bit less in these recent weeks.

"I always used to say that football is an ever-lasting beginning, so you always need to question yourself and in those moments the most important thing is to show some character.

"I have been through some difficult periods in my career and all the time I try to come back stronger and it has happened again in this game, and I am very pleased for me and for the team."

Victory would have given Southampton's survival hopes a major boost. Instead, defeat left Mark Hughes' men five points adrift of safety.

New Saints boss Hughes insists his players can cope with the pressure, despite their increasingly precarious position.

"They've taken blows all year, they can't start feeling sorry for themselves now, it's gone beyond that," said Hughes.

"We've got to stick our chests out, get on with it, start being men and take responsibility.

"I thought they did that today, and against Arsenal. I think we've still got enough to get out of this."


More in this Section

Sarri calls on Chelsea players to keep up winning ways

Rocky Fielding floored four times as Saul Canelo Alvarez romps to victory

Real Madrid coach Solari happy to end 2018 on winning note

Unflappable Taylor sees off challenge from Wahlstrom in New York


Lifestyle

Lindsay Woods: At a time of year when the pace is frenzied and days are full of school plays and deadlines, the chance to break from routine is a welcome one

On the red carpet: Margot Robbie, Saoirse Ronan, Diane Kruger and Cheryl

Raise a glass to Christmas festivities

The best festive desserts to try out this Christmas

More From The Irish Examiner