April 20, 2018 12:00 PM NPT
BURNLEY, April 20: Victor Moses struck a 69th-minute winner for Chelsea to give Antonio Conte’s side a 2-1 Premier League victory over Burnley at Turf Moor on Thursday, closing the gap on fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur.
Chelsea trail Spurs by five points with just four games remaining but the win kept alive their slim hopes of a late push for the final Champions League slot.
“It won’t be easy because there is a five-point gap to Tottenham and in the past we missed great chances to stay closer to them,” said Conte.
“Now the only way is to try to get three points in every game from now until the end, which won’t be easy because we are playing teams fighting to avoid relegation. But we have to try and tonight I saw a great spirit,” the Italian added.
Chelsea had taken a 20th-minute lead through a Kevin Long own goal after the Burnley defenders attempt to clear a Moses cross ended up in his own net.
The Londoners were well in control of the game, making effective use of two target strikers in Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud after Conte opted to start with Eden Hazard on the bench ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final against Southampton.
Chelsea should have doubled their lead after the break when Morata broke clear but shot wide when he was one-on-one with Burnley keeper Nick Pope.
Against the run of play, Burnley drew level in the 64th minute, when Johann Berg Gudmundsson cut in from the right and his low drive went in off team-mate Ashley Barnes and beat the wrong-footed Thibaut Courtois.
But the Blues responded perfectly five minutes later when a cross from the left from Emerson reached Moses at the back post and he took his time before firing past Nick Pope.
The loss ended Burnley’s five-match winning streak but Sean Dyche’s side remained seventh in the table and with a chance of qualifying for next season’s Europa League.
But Dyche said the game had shown a sizeable gap remained between the top six clubs and his team.
“We have moved forward a long way but there is still a gap between the top clubs and ourselves, without a shadow of doubt,” he said.
“There is a reality to where we are. We are doing fantastic but still there is a gap in front of teams like us and many other teams,” he added, praising the way his team took the game on after falling behind.