Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Thibaut Shows His Resolve as Chelsea Bounce Back

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Thibaut Shows His Resolve as Chelsea Bounce Back

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon Johnson

CHELSEA 2 MAN CITY 1 ALL title-winning sides have had one thing in common -- an innate ability to recover from setbacks, especially during the run-in.

That is exactly what Chelsea had to show against Manchester City last night. Just four days after losing their veneer of invincibility against Crystal Palace, the League leaders were firmly put to the test by Pep Guardiola's men.

There was a feeling of deja vu inside the stadium when Chelsea took an early lead only to gift the equaliser by losing possession in their own half.

It was Pedro's sloppiness that cost them on Saturday, this time it was Thibaut Courtois's turn.

The Belgian somehow passed straight to David Silva and after blocking his shot, the ball was turned home by Sergio Aguero. The anguish on the Chelsea No 1's face said it all.

One could sense Chelsea's confidence evaporating and within a couple of minutes, an action replay of the Palace defeat was a possibility.

Palace's winning goal came within a couple of minutes of the first, as they took advantage of a still shocked Chelsea defence to break clear, and Manchester City almost did the same.

But Courtois made amends, producing a fine save to deny Leroy Sane and give everyone in blue a vital lift in the process.

Courtois continued to be increasingly influential as the game went on, including making a brave stop from Aguero in injury time to help secure the victory after Eden Hazard had scored his, and Chelsea's, second goal.

As far as Courtois was concerned, both the team and himself had proved a major point.

He said: "Mental strength is one of my biggest qualities. I showed that and so did the team to bounce back after Saturday to win the game.

"It is something you need as an individual and as a side when you're trying to win the title.

"It was important for us to win against Manchester City. I don't think we played badly against Crystal Palace, we just made a few mistakes.

"But we remained calm [in the days afterwards]. We have to do so to play well and that's what we did against Manchester City. …

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