Gary Cahill has laughed off suggestions Chelsea were planning to “park the bus” at Manchester City and joined the chorus of approval for manager Jose Mourinho’s tactics.
Mourinho masterminded a superb victory as the Londoners claimed a deserved 1-0 win over previously free-scoring City at the Etihad Stadium. With City having scored 115 goals this season, it was assumed Mourinho might adopt defensive tactics but he more than matched City at their own game. Branislav Ivanovic scored the only goal as Chelsea pulled level with City two points behind leaders Arsenal.
Defender Cahill claims there was never any intention of sitting back. The England international said: “It makes me laugh when people say that. But we were disciplined defensively with the two midfielders and centre-backs staying solid. It was a class performance. We had to weather the storm for the first 15 minutes but the work-rate was fantastic and we got the result we deserved.
“Jose has the CV for a reason. He is a top-quality manager and we worked on a few things in the last couple of days which he was adamant we put into practice.
“The club is a massive club and when you have that and massive players, and you add a massive manager, I think it combines really well. He is experienced and it is all new for me but it is working well. We are playing well and doing what he asks of us.”
Mourinho played down his side’s title chances after the game but the Blues are clearly in the reckoning.
Their performance was an excellent response to last week’s frustrating goalless draw with West Ham and they will look to maintain the momentum as they host Newcastle on Saturday.
Chelsea were the first team since Birmingham in November 2010 to prevent City scoring at home.
Cahill, 28, revealed: “Just before we left the hotel we saw the TV saying they had not failed to score at home since 2010, so hearing that 10 minutes before we set off had us buzzing.
“They have strength and power and sometimes they steamroller teams. I’ve seen them out-muscle teams and then their quality comes through. We needed to match that and I thought we did. Our creative players were creative and we defended really well and we got a clean sheet, which is rare.”
City defender Pablo Zabaleta, meanwhile, is confident manager Manuel Pellegrini will put right what went wrong against Chelsea.
Zabaleta said: “We were a little bit frustrated by the result but this is football. We can learn from mistakes. I think the manager is clever enough to work during the week and show to us on video what we did wrong and try to do well next game.
“We need to have a good rest now and be ready for Saturday: another tough game, Norwich away.”
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