Frank Lampard scored twice and captain John Terry first to inspire Chelsea to a 1 – 3 win over Blackpool at Bloomfield Road on Monday night to keep the Blues’ title hopes afloat.
Skipper Terry, 30, opened the scoring with a first-half header before vice-captain Lampard, 32, ended relegation-threatened Blackpool’s resistance with two goals in the second period, one a penalty.
Jason Puncheon, who hit the post for the home team in the first half, pulled a goal back with four minutes to go when he drilled a low left-footed shot into the corner of the net.
Chelsea are fourth in the table with 51 points from 28 matches. They have a game in hand on leaders Manchester United (60 points) and visit the Old Trafford side later in the season.
“I don’t think we were at our best today. At times we were a bit sloppy but luckily with a bit of quality up front we won it,” Lampard told Sky Sports.
As for Chelsea’s title ambitions, Lampard added: “You have to believe. It’s a long shot… but if we go and win every game we can still do it”.
The Londoners’ long trip to the north-west coast was anything but a pleasant evening by the seaside early on as Premier League paupers Blackpool hustled and bustled the multi-millionaires of Chelsea out of their stride.
Terry put the champions in front when he nodded home Lampard’s right-wing corner in the 20th minute but the visitors were generally toothless in attack.
New signing Fernando Torres hardly featured and strike partner Didier Drogba’s touch was poor.
The Ivorian was forced off early in the second half after hurting his hip and compatriot Salomon Kalou came on as a substitute to revitalise Chelsea’s fortunes.
Kalou was brought down in the penalty area by Blackpool defender Ian Evatt in the 63rd minute and Lampard calmly stroked the spot kick past Richard Kingson.
Three minutes later Kalou produced some clever footwork before sending Lampard racing clear to sidefoot Chelsea’s third goal.