Cesar Azpilicueta believes conceding just before half-time was the turning point in Sunday’s defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.
Chelsea took a deserved lead in the 29th minute, courtesy of an Alvaro Morata’s header but Tottenham drew level just before half-time through Christian Eriksen before Dele Alli scored two goals in five minutes in the second-half.
“It’s really tough,” said Azpilicueta. “We started the game well, we scored the first goal and were in control but the late equaliser was hard to take because after the first half, and our performance, we didn’t deserve for it to be 1-1 but that’s football.
“We had more chances to score goals, we didn’t do that and we know the Premier League is tough. We were playing against a strong side and, from nothing, a good strike made it 1-1.
“After that it was different. It was hard to take the goal before half-time when you’ve been controlling the game, but sometimes that can happen, in your favour and against you. Then in two actions in five minutes they came back and got the win that obviously we knew would have been very important for us.”
The defeat leaves Chelsea eight points behind fourth-placed Tottenham with seven matches to play but Azpilicueta insists the team will continue to push to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
“It looks further away than it did before the game but there are still points to play for,” Azpilicueta added. “With every game you play you are closer to the end and we have to make sure we try to get there.
“It’s a hard kick for us because our target was to get closer to them and after the game we are even further away, but it’s a massive target for us so we have to make sure we fight until the end to try to get that spot.”