Lampard and Gallas say title race is still on

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The Independent Online

They were on opposite sides on Sunday in London and will be again tomorrow in Paris, but one thing unites Frank Lampard and William Gallas – neither believes the fight for the Premier League title is over.

Both may be indulging in a wishful thinking with Manchester United enjoying a five-point lead over Lampard's Chelsea and a six-point cushion on Gallas's Arsenal, but neither player is willing to concede the race is run.

"United have to come [to Stamford Bridge]," said Lampard, who will be aiming to complete a double over Gallas when England take on France tomorrow, "so we have to try to win all our games and if we can beat United and they drop points then we have a chance, it's as simple as that.

"It is far from over. Manchester United know that and we know that, but it is important that we try to win our games in the meantime before we play them.

"The 2-1 win [over Arsenal on Sunday] was very important. We were 1-0 down and had we lost we would have been virtually out of the race. We knew that. That is why we dug in so hard and pulled it round. The spirit of the lads, especially at 1-0 down, was fantastic."

Gallas admitted it would be tough for Arsenal to overhaul United, especially as his side have only picked up four points in five games, but said his side must keep the faith. "It will be difficult for us to come back, because Manchester United now have six points [lead] but we have to," he said.

"We must play until the end of the season and then see. Maybe they can drop some points because of the Champions League – they can be tired, Chelsea too.

"We have to give everything until the end. Why do we have to be down? Football is like this. You never know. They can lose some points and we have to be ready for the next game and do not give up. We can still win it. It is not finished yet, so we have to believe."

Arsène Wenger accepts his side must first start winning games again before they can "dream of the title" and the Arsenal manager pointed to a lapse in what he called "defensive authority" as the reason for the side's stuttering form.

Gallas knows that he and the rest of the Arsenal backline have to raise their game if their season is not to peter out. "We made some mistakes, and sometimes it is difficult to understand," he said. "Normally we do not do things like this. But if you do not have the luck, it is not easy.

"Maybe we deserved to win because before they scored we controlled the game, were very sharp on the Chelsea players. After their goal, we went down. From then on it was really difficult for us to be strong."

Gallas – signed as part of the deal which saw full-back Ashley Cole head in the opposite direction on transfer-deadline day in August 2006 – has found himself coming in for criticism following his reaction to the late defeat at Birmingham when he sat in the centre-circle for some time after the final whistle.

At Stamford Bridge, Gallas went over to the travelling supporters and threw his shirt into the crowd. However, the Arsenal captain insists that was nothing unusual or any kind of statement.

"I was saying nothing," he said. "They had come here supporting us, and for them it was difficult to accept we lost so I gave them my shirt, it was nothing special. I did it before, did it on Sunday and maybe will do it in the next game.

"We know our supporters are there for us all the time, and that it is difficult for them to see us lose."

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