SWEET COME­BACK

Cour­tois rel­ish­ing prospect of ti­tle af­ter last sea­son’s woes

New Straits Times - - Sport - THIBAULT COUR­TOIS

LON­DON favourites given they need just three points from their fi­nal three league games this sea­son to take the ti­tle.

Cour­tois spent three years on loan at Atletico Madrid, win­ning La Liga be­fore claim­ing a Premier League ti­tle in his first sea­son in English foot­ball.

The Bel­gium goal­keeper, asked to com­pare win­ning the ti­tle with Chelsea un­der Mour­inho to this sea­son with Conte, told Talk­sport Ra­dio on Tues­day: “It’s hard to say be­cause ob­vi­ously in the first year I came here, I came from win­ning the league in Spain and straight away we won the league, so that was very nice.

“But this year was maybe even more spe­cial, be­cause last year was a very bad year.

“We had a lot of crit­ics, the new man­ager came in at the be­gin­ning of the sea­son, we won some games but then we lost and there were again a lot of crit­ics.

“But then we bounced back as a team very hard and we played very well.

“From that point of view I think it’s very nice to hope­fully be able to lift that Premier League ti­tle soon.

“I know we’re not there yet, but we’re very close and it will be very en­joy­able af­ter last year.”

Cour­tois added: “We hope to do it at the first at­tempt. We know West Brom are a hard team to play against — we had a very tough game here (a 1-0 win at Stam­ford Bridge in De­cem­ber).

“Ev­ery op­po­nent who goes there has a hard game, they are eighth in the league and have had a very good year.”

Chelsea suf­fered Septem­ber de­feats by both Liver­pool and Arse­nal but re­sponded by em­bark­ing upon a 13-match win­ning run in the league.

They have since won four matches in a row fol­low­ing a de­feat by Manch­ester United, in­clud­ing an FA Cup semi-fi­nal suc­cess against Lon­don ri­vals Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur, their near­est chal­lengers in the league, that left Conte on the brink of com­plet­ing a do­mes­tic ‘Dou­ble’ in his first sea­son in English foot­ball.

“Af­ter ev­ery bad game we al­ways re­cover very quickly, we al­ways re­spond very well and win,” Blues mid­fielder Ne­manja Matic told Chelsea TV. “We have every­thing in our hands. We de­cide our fu­ture. On Fri­day, we have an op­por­tu­nity to win and to take a ti­tle.” AFP

We had a lot of crit­ics, the new man­ager came in at the be­gin­ning of the sea­son, we won some games but then we lost and there were again a lot of crit­ics.

Chelsea man­ager An­to­nio Conte hugs Thibaut Cour­tois af­ter the Mid­dles­brough match on Mon­day.

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