April 15, 2017

Courtois: We Thrive On Pressure  (Sky Sports)

Chelsea celebrateThibaut Courtois says Chelsea are thriving on the pressure of leading the race for the Premier League title.

They currently sit seven points clear of second-place Tottenham with seven games remaining and travel to Manchester United next on Super Sunday, live on Sky Sports.

Courtois admits their surprise home defeat to Crystal Palace betrayed a mental lapse but believes his side will clinch the title if they avoid distractions.

When asked about the pressure of topping the table at this stage of the season, Courtois told Sky Sports News HQ: "We thrive on that.

"What happened against Palace was maybe we were too relaxed at a certain point. We scored early and were 10 points ahead.

"I think it's good for us to be under pressure, I think the pressure is more on the teams behind us that need to win to close the gap. We have the pressure to keep winning and to keep the gap at seven points.

"We are confident and you can say it's ours to lose but if at the end somebody finishes above us, they will have deserved it more over the course of 38 games.

"A season is not only 31 or 32 games. Let's see, I think we are doing very well and working very hard, we will do our best to win it."

Chelsea face a difficult run of league fixtures in April, with the visit to United followed by a home game against Southampton and an away trip to Everton.

In between that, they also face the prospect of an FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham and Courtois says his side cannot afford any slip-ups down the stretch.

"We have a tough month, Manchester United, Southampton at home - they are always a good side - and Everton away," the goalkeeper added. "They are knocking on the door to be at the top as well.

"They are difficult games but those games are good for us. We have to see game-by-game. I hope we don't give it away and I strongly believe we won't but we cannot relax.

"We have to work hard and do the same things we have been doing for the past six or seven months. If we do that I think we can achieve it.

"But if we think we will win games easily without doing the work we have been doing, then obviously you can lose games and points. That would bring more pressure. If we keep doing what we're doing, we will be fine."

Despite topping the table, Chelsea have not kept a clean sheet in the league since their 2-0 victory over Hull City in January.

"I think in some games we can be unfortunate with a penalty or a quality free-kick but in some games we were maybe not concentrating as much or as fully committed as before," Courtois said.

"We had a beautiful run of six or seven clean sheets and in a spell of winning 13 games I think we only conceded two or three goals.

"It's a pity to concede goals but it's most important to win our games. That is what we are doing. It's very important as well that we score goals because at the moment we concede a bit too much."

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